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Kawhi Leonard Trade Rumors: Brooklyn Nets 'Unlikely to Be in the Sweepstakes'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2018

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard warms up before Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, May 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly unlikely to pursue San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard in a trade, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

On Friday, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News was the first of many to report that Leonard desired a trade.

Per ESPN's Ian Begley, people close to Leonard have "expressed a desire" for the two-time All-Star to play in New York.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported, however, that Leonard prefers to play in his hometown of Los Angeles for the Lakers or Clippers.

Last season, Leonard appeared in just nine games because of a quad injury, and there were constant questions in the media regarding his desire to play.

In March, Wojnarowski reported the Spurs held a players-only meeting in which Leonard's teammates implored him to play, but he never returned to the lineup.

The biggest advantage to remaining with the Spurs is the ability to sign a super-max extension after the 2018-19 season, as no other team can offer Leonard more money than San Antonio.

Despite that, ESPN's Chris Haynes reported "there's a feeling of betrayal that, at this juncture, appears irreparable."

The Nets went 28-54 last season, and they won't pick until No. 29 overall in the 2018 NBA draft since the Cleveland Cavaliers own their original first-rounder at No. 8.

Even so, Brooklyn has a host of young assets that could intrigue San Antonio in a potential offer for Leonard, including guards D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and center Jarrett Allen.

The Nets also own their first-round pick in 2019.

While it can be argued that Brooklyn has the ability to put together one of the best packages for Leonard, staying the course with a rebuild may prove to be the Nets' best chance for long-term success.

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