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Kawhi Leonard Trade Rumors: 'Vultures Are Circling' to Make Deal for Spurs Star

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2018

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves the ball up court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 112-80. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is reportedly the trade target for a number of teams.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst appeared on Outside the Lines on Monday and said, via RealGM: "I have already talked to several NBA general managers. At the end of this season, teams will call the Spurs and inquire about the availability of Kawhi Leonard."

Zach Lowe of ESPN tweeted confirmation of the report and said "vultures are circling, in hopes of action around the draft" June 21.

Leonard can become a free agent in 2019 with the player option in his contract, per Spotrac, and RealGM explained he "could sign a supermax extension with the Spurs this offseason worth more than $200 million. Leonard would be unable to sign a max contract at 35 percent of the cap should he leave the Spurs."

The San Diego State product has played just nine games this season as he rehabs a right quadriceps injury that has led to a number of headlines.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright of ESPN reported Saturday that Leonard has gone to New York to rehab with no timetable to return to action. They also noted it is the second occasion he traveled to New York to use his outside medical team for the injury.  

Near the end of last month, Wojnarowski reported Tony Parker led a "tense and emotional" players-only meeting to "implore" Leonard to aid with a postseason push, but he has still not returned.

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Spurs forward Rudy Gay, however, said it was a typical conversation.

"We all got together and we talked about things that were going on," he said, via RJ Marquez of KSAT News. "Heated? I don't think so."

Despite the health problems and reportedly tense situation in San Antonio, Leonard is only 26 years old and one of the best two-way players in the league after averaging a career-best 25.5 points per game last season. It is no wonder so many teams are interested in his services and plan on contacting the Spurs about a potential trade.

Leonard is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, two-time All-NBA selection, four-time All-Defensive team selection and the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, and he would represent a significant building block for any franchise.