This NBA Offseason is shaping up to be an exciting one with many big name free agents making decisions on which team they want to sign with and a few teams considering making blockbuster trades centered around the draft or other stars. Many important moves will be made by the free agency stars like LeBron James, Paul George, and Chris Paul that will affect everyone else and their decisions. There is, however, one star that isn’t a free agent that I believe will have a huge effect on how the free agency plays out and that star is Kawhi Leonard.
The Kawhi Saga this season has been messy and at this point, I’m not really sure what to believe from the media because there has been so much conflicting information. What it seems like is that Kawhi is unhappy in San Antonio and would like to play the last year of his current contract for a different team. If that’s true, this offseason could become very interesting because of the many teams that would want to trade for him. From what I’ve read, the teams Kawhi would like to play for are the Lakers or Knicks but, the Sixers, Cavs, and Celtics have pieces they could use to make a trade involving Kawhi which would then put him in the East which is what the Spurs want. I think whatever the Spurs decide to do with Kawhi, whether that be to trade him or to work things out and keep him, will affect the free agency decision of LeBron James. Although I almost certain they won’t, trading Kawhi to the Lakers could be a huge push to get Lebron James in the purple and gold. Having a great player like Kawhi who knows how to win already in LA would be just the incentive to make Lebron pick the Lakers who also have a chance to sign Paul George. That would weigh in on George’s decision and could sway him to pick LA over staying in OKC. Those 3 teaming up in LA would be a great team to try and dethrone the Warriors. I think the Sixers are also a great team to try and make a trade for Kawhi. After making the trade, they would then also be able to sign LeBron James who has a relationship with Ben Simmons and has already been recruited by Joel Embiid on social media. If Kawhi gets traded to a terrible team, Lebron is not following him there but, him going to a large market with an already good team could definitely make him think about joining up with Kawhi. Regardless of what happens, the Kawhi move will be a huge trade (or not) this offseason and will help shift the landscape of the NBA and decisions of key free agents.