Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs organization has been the subject of intense scrutiny for some time now. The 26-year-old sustained an injury to his right thigh prior to pre-season last year, and despite Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich indicating Leonard would return “sooner rather than later”, the MVP-calibre talent failed to return in time for his ball club’s playoff run.
Disagreements over the diagnosis and severity of the injury between Leonard’s camp and the San Antonio staff meant Leonard’s future at the AT&T Center was uncertain to say the least.
Now, league sources say Leonard wants out of San Antonio. Leonard reportedly grew disillusioned with the Spurs’ handling of his injury, feeling betrayed by the ball club after asking for a second opinion on his quad injury.
Sources indicate that Leonard has earmarked Los Angeles as his preferred trade destination. However, it is believed that the forward favors a move to the Lakers over the Clippers.
Of course, the LA clubs are not the only teams that could be in the running for Leonard’s services next season. The Boston Celtics inquired about a trade for Leonard prior to the February trade deadline, and are likely to pursue the player in the off-season as well.
The news of Leonard’s intent to leave San Antonio has increased speculation over the potential formation of a Lakers super-team to compete with that of Golden State’s.
LeBron James entered free agency in the summer following the Warriors sweep of his Cavaliers in the Finals. The Cavs lack of a viable supporting cast around James coupled with the team’s aging squad indicates that remaining in Cleveland would not allow James to compete with the Warriors next season.
In turn, the Magic Johnson-led Lakers have become an odds on favorite to land James in the offseason. Such circumstances could result in the Lakers acquiring both James and Leonard if cap space were to be freed by the front office.
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