David Murphy’s Reaffirmation of My Kawhi/PG13 Dream Has Given Me New Life

Photo credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the often long-winded David Murphy penned a piece that has given me new life. Rather than writing the same LeBron-to-Philly article that every reporter and blog boy (hey, KD) has put out over the last few months, Murphy outlined the hypothetical I talked about on Crossing Broadcast in February : trading for Spurs’ superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Murphy on the cap flexibility of trading for Kawhi vs. signing PG13/LeBron, assuming Kawhi signs a max extension in 2019-20:

The Sixers would be paying Leonard $20.1 million in 2018-19 (the last year of his current deal) and $32.4 million in 2019-20 (Year 1 of his extension). That’s a savings of $10.2 million over a max deal for Paul George and $15.25 million over a max deal for LeBron in 2018-19. In 2019-20, Leonard would cost about a half million more than George and about $5 million less than LeBron.

The thing to keep in mind is a trade for Kawhi would likely need to include at least two of Fultz, Dario, or Cov as well as this year’s likely #10 overall pick and potentially another first round pick. That’s a ton to give up, but Leonard was the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and a two-time member of the All-NBA First Team.

Here’s where I lost my mind.

Fultz and the No. 10 pick, on the other hand, would clear an additional $11.4 million in cap space, leaving their total room at $22.9 million…

It’s also within striking distance of the room they’d need to clear to add another max guy. Say, George. Trade Robert Covington and Anderson and they’d be there, with $35.9 million to spend.


Getting Kawhi and PG13 would obviously eliminate some of the team’s depth and cost Process-era players to whom many fans have become attached. However, if you have the ability to add multiple All-Stars, both of whom can create their own shot and play in the fast-paced, pass-heavy Brett Brown offense, you have to make the dream a reality.

In the post-season teams often shorten their bench, especially in crunch time. Which top 7 would you prefer:

A) Simmons, Embiid, LeBron, Dario, Covington, Fultz, Belinelli

B) Simmons, Embiid, Kawhi, Paul George, Dario, Belinelli, TJ

For my money, I’m taking B. Yes, your team isn’t 12-men deep, but a lineup of:

Ben Simmons

Paul George

Kawhi Leonard

Dario Saric

Joel Embiid

is the best way to compete with the Boston Celtics for the next decade and presents matchup problems for a Golden State team that will likely be without Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala in two years.

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15 Responses

  1. Except at least 2 of them will be hurt and the lineup will become scrubs.


  2. I would keep Dario. Give them Fultz, Cov, 10th pick.

    Or just sign DeAndre Jordan.

  3. Shut up nerd. You lost all credibility when you said on the pod you didn’t want LeBron.

    Serious question though, if they get all that cap space from the Kawhi trade why wouldn’t they max LeBron instead of “Playoff P”?

    1. I’ve moved off that position. They’d need to clear Cov, renounce JJ, decline Holmes, stretch Bayless. Even then, I don’t think they’d be able to offer the max and fill out the roster.

  4. That’s pretty fucking rich, Russ. This piece is a copy and paste job. Also, Klay and the Warriors are in contract extension talks. Come on, man.

    1. The “hey, KD” was a nod to Kevin Durant calling his critics and writers “blog boys”. Just because Klay and GS are reportedly in contract talks, that doesn’t guarantee a deal gets done.

  5. There is ZERO chance of the Spurs letting go of Kawhi for Fultz, Dario, the 10th pick and another 1. The second 1 will be a late 1st, the 10 gets you a supporting player, Fultz’s stock has never been lower and Dario will never be a first team all pro. You don’t give up young superstar players without a chance to get one in return. There are 5 other teams off the top of my head who could put together a better package. Come on Russ, this is pathetic.

    1. Hit me with the five teams. LAL? BOS?

      San Antonio doesn’t have as much leverage as you might imagine. If the player refuses to report, how could they not explore trades?

      By the way, I think the Sixers try to force Covington into that deal.

      1. They can explore trades but they don’t have to do anything. You’re acting as if Fultz has this incredible value. Any team picking in the top 5 this year alone can put together a better package. Plus if one of those teams adds a first rounder next year. It’s not as if the Sixers have any high picks in future years. LAL, CHI, BOS, NYK, CLE, DAL. All of those teams have equivalent talent in players to be traded (that matches what the sixers would want to give away). San Antonio still has leverage this year, they will not after next season.

        You are exhausting and it makes me sad that Kyle attached you to so many aspects of his company. You may be the nicest guy in the world (which absolutely could be true) but your takes make me crazy. Just because it’s a philly sports site shouldn’t mean you get to throw out asinine takes as if they’ll happen. It happens every day on the podcast, which is why I had to stop listening

  6. Why give up anything for a guy who LITERALLY quit on his team? Guy has one year left on his deal, so if he thinks there’s even a remote chance some nagging injury might effect him in free agency, he’ll quit on the Sixers too.

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