Kawhi Leonard Trade Rumors: Lakers Currently Spurs Star's Top Destination

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2018

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 13:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mark Sobhani/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard reportedly would like to be traded and has the Los Angeles Lakers atop his wish list.

On Friday, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News noted Leonard wants to be traded. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN then reported the 2014 NBA Finals MVP would favor a deal to his hometown of Los Angeles, with the Lakers ahead of the Clippers as his preferred landing spot.

The updates come after a rumored meeting between Leonard, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and team legend Tim Duncan to possibly discuss the star's future with the organization.

RJ Marquez of KSAT reported all three of the Spurs stalwarts have been spotted in New York City recently, though the team hasn't confirmed any interaction.

Leonard is coming off a forgettable 2017-18 season with San Antonio. He appeared in just nine games because of a lingering quad injury, and his extended absences, which included leaving the team to rehab in New York, seemed to draw the ire of Popovich.

"You'll have to ask Kawhi and his group that question [about his availability]," Popovich told reporters in April. "So far, they say that he's not ready to go, so we can't do anything until that happens…and then we would have to decide what's going on from there. But that's the first thing that has to happen."

Last month, Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com reported the situation caused the Spurs to grow "worried that Leonard's group has an ulterior motive to fray the relationship and get Leonard traded to a larger market such as Los Angeles or New York or Philadelphia."

Leonard is one of the NBA's top players when healthy. He was named to the All-NBA First Team each of the previous two seasons and also won the Defensive Player of the Year Award twice.

The Lakers have incentive to pursue a deal quickly.

Acquiring a player of Leonard's caliber would make L.A. a much more attractive option for the summer's top free agents. The group is headlined by LeBron James and Paul George, both of whom have been linked to the storied franchise throughout the season.

A core of James, Leonard and George would give the Lakers the firepower to potentially challenge the Golden State Warriors for supremacy in the superteam era.

Related

    Frank Vogel Is Wisely Tempering Expectations

    Los Angeles Lakers logo
    Los Angeles Lakers

    Frank Vogel Is Wisely Tempering Expectations

    Lake Show Life
    via Lake Show Life

    Wade Gives Glowing Review of Lakers’ Revamped Roster

    Los Angeles Lakers logo
    Los Angeles Lakers

    Wade Gives Glowing Review of Lakers’ Revamped Roster

    Brad Sullivan
    via Heat Nation

    Report: Lakers Granted DPE on Cousins

    LA receives $1.75M disabled player exception for Boogie's expected season-ending ACL injury (Shams)

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Lakers Granted DPE on Cousins

    LA receives $1.75M disabled player exception for Boogie's expected season-ending ACL injury (Shams)

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report

    3 Goals for Dwight Howard in 2019-20 Season

    Los Angeles Lakers logo
    Los Angeles Lakers

    3 Goals for Dwight Howard in 2019-20 Season

    Lake Show Life
    via Lake Show Life