Report: Lakers, Clippers question severity of Leonard's injury
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 18, 2018 03:03 PM
FILE - OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 25: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against the Golden State Warriors during a game on October 25, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Just how hurt is Kawhi Leonard?
That's the question the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers are asking, per a report by The LA Times' Tania Ganguli.
Leonard, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and one-time Finals MVP, is reportedly seeking a trade away from the San Antonio Spurs, with an eye towards heading home to Los Angeles, where he grew up and played college hoops.
However, per Ganguli, neither the Lakers, nor the Clippers, are rushing to assemble any trade offers:
In game one of the 2017 Western Conference Finals, Leonard injured his ankle when he fell on the foot of Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia. He failed to play the rest of the series, and the Spurs lost in a sweep.
Neither the Lakers nor Clippers have had trade discussions with the Spurs, as both teams have concerns about the severity of Leonard’s injury. He spent several months away from the team while rehabbing, which led to public barbs from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about Leonard’s absence — an unusual move for the Spurs.
While the Lakers are open to trading any player on their roster, how much they are willing to give up depends on their confidence in his health.
It’s also unclear if the Spurs would be willing to trade Leonard to the Lakers or any other team. If they are, other teams might have more significant assets to offer, especially given that the Lakers do not have a lottery pick this year. They will select 25th in next week’s draft, a pick they got in a trade with Cleveland.
The Clippers have more to offer than the Lakers. They would be willing to create a package with forward Tobias Harris and the 12th or 13th pick in this year’s draft, according to a source not authorized to speak publicly.
Come the 2017-18 season, Leonard missed the first 27 games of the new campaign with what was described as a "right quadriceps injury." He figured in nine games, playing on a minutes restriction and avoiding back-to-back outings, and put up 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks. He didn't play past January 13, 2018 (Jan. 14, 2018, PHL time) though, due to the quadriceps injury flaring up again. That led to the tension between Leonard and the Spurs, as team doctors had cleared him to play again, while Leonard opted for a second opinion, and later, further rehab.