Wojbombs in the Distance Give Me Hope for Kawhi

Photo Credit: © Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Do you hear that sound in the distance? It’s not the concussive explosion of LeBron’s “Decision 3.0,” but if you listen closely enough, you can hear the foundation of the Spurs’ Way continuing to crack. We’ve heard all season about Kawhi Leonard’s distrust with San Antonio’s medical staff. His injury, and the subsequent back-and-forth between Leonard, his teammates, and the organization made the Markelle Fultz situation, at times, look kind of normal. Over the last few months, I’ve written about the possibility that the Sixers would look to acquire Kawhi this offseason via trade.

The prevailing wisdom on Sixers Twitter has been, “Well, how can you possibly make a trade for Kawhi (trading a combo of #10, #26, Fultz/Dario/Covington) without a GM?” It’s as if no one realizes that Monty Williams, who once led the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs twice in five seasons, just left a position in the Spurs’ front office. While Williams will be serving as an assistant coach on Brett Brown’s staff, the job that he did the past two years as the vice president of basketball operations was in the same front office as R.C. Buford. If team is better equipped to make a move for Kawhi Leonard, who better than the Sixers? Brett Brown served on Gregg Popovich’s staff with Leonard as a player, which gives insight to Kawhi the player, while William’s experience in a front office role provides insider information on Kawhi the man.

Now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Spurs’ coach Greg Popovich is going to meet with Kawhi at some point this summer:

“Sooner than later, there will be a meeting set with Gregg Popovich and Leonard. It’s still in the planning stages. They have been in contact, but there will be a conversation — or, perhaps, a series of them — about whether a lasting trust and partnership can be rebuilt.”

Popovich is a year removed from having had a similar meeting with star LaMarcus Aldridge, who had requested a trade after a tumultuous season in San Antonio. Roughly two months after the death of his wife, Woj reported that Popovich’s long-term plans might not include coaching the Spurs:

“Few in his orbit expect Popovich to coach the Spurs beyond the 2020 Summer Olympics, and there always has been the possibility that he could spend the 2019-20 season traveling around the NBA and across the globe, preparing for his national team duties. Perhaps Popovich can have Leonard on Team USA in 2020, too, but that’s a conversation for a different day.”

What once seemed like an impossibility – parting ways with the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and two-time All-NBA First Team selection – now appears to be a formality, with the Sixers mentioned as a contender to acquire his services. Don’t even get me started on my favorite hypothetical:



26 Responses

  1. “2014 NBA Finals MVP, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and two-time All-NBA First Team selection”

    …for a good but not great pick at 10, a lottery ticket at 26, a second year player that can’t shoot and a combination of Dario /Cov. Are you fucking kidding me? The NBA doesn’t work like your PS4 2k18. They do NOT have to trade him. He has years (pluarl!) left on his contract so its not as if this is a sign and trade. If they want a trade partner they will find 29 other teams wanting a franchise player. Certainly there will be franchises with more to offer. For Christ’s sake even multiple #1s from Phoenix is a better offer than this because they at least have the chance at getting a superstar in return – the process, remember????

    If this was last year and you were giving up the 3 overall (or even the 1 after the trade) but the audience is smarter than this shit Russ.

    Throw more shit at the wall and see what sticks. I miss the old days of Kyle posting pictures of Jeff Carter drinking at the shore. Now Crossing Broad has become a blogger’s version of First Take. Come back Kyle and send away Russ

    1. So true, I wish Kyle had remembered the old adage “less is more”. And once he decimated the comment section I dropped this site from my daily rotation.

    2. Let’s be clear:
      -Kawhi is officially under contract for 2018-19 with a Player Option for 2019-20. If he hits FA, he’d be the top talent on a market that could theoretically include the likes of Klay Thompson.

      -The Stepien Rule prevents teams from trading multiple 1st round draft picks of their own in consecutive years. Other picks Phoenix could potentially own:
      *#16 (from Miami) in 2018
      *Top 3/#17-30 protected (from Milwaukee) in 2019 or Top 7 protected in 2020 or unprotected in 2021
      *First round pick in 2021 (from Miami)

      So, we know Phoenix won’t part with #1, right? Even if Milwaukee doesn’t become a top 2/3 team in the East, that pick won’t hold a ton of value, and what real value is the 2021 Miami pick? What’s your proposal from Phoenix that’s so much better?
      2018 #16 overall (Miami), 2019 Phoenix (Maybe top 10?), Milwaukee pick in 2019/20/21? How’s that better?

      You would’ve been better off pointing out the assets that Boston has or the cap space and young players the Lakers have. I’m not saying the audience is stupid, but your rebuttal wasn’t exactly ironclad. Thanks for reading, though. I’ll wait for you response.

      1. Russ I mentioned all 29 teams could be in play. That means Boston and LA. In reference to my Phoenix point you made my point for me. I never said back to back years. Once again you are assuming the audience doesn’t know anything. My point is that Phoenix could give up 2 picks. The 1 overall (and no we don’t know they won’t do that because you’re talking about a fucking franchise player!). So they could give up the 1 and either the Miami or bucks pick (both of which could easily be better than the 26 you’re proposing from the sixers this year) and a young and highly regarded asset such as Booker or Jackson. That alone is better than what you proposed from the Sixers.

        The whole point of my comment is simply to point out the fact that you throw shit out there and as an audience member it 100% feels like you talk as if you are pointing out shit that we should take as fact. Of course the sixers should go after Leonard! They would be idiots not to go after one of the top 3 two way players in the league. But that goes for every other team in the NBA.

        1. I’m not trying to be condescending. I merely pointed out the Stepien rule for someone who reads the comments, but might not know about it.

          Yes, you mentioned the other 29 teams. One of the problems with that – other than it be a cliché thing to say – is the fact that SA would likely look to avoid trading him to another Western Conference team unless the haul is enormous. In the case of LAL, a package built around Ingram could be enticing. As for Phoenix, I don’t see any way that they’d consider trading their best player (Booker) or the #1 overall pick unless they work out an extension with Leonard and his agent (unlikely if the agent/uncle is trying to push Kawhi to a top-5 market). Josh Jackson wouldn’t be prohibitive to a deal, but I’m not sure he brings enough value.

          Not everything I write is meant to be taken as 100% fact; there’s some reasonable understanding that this post was conjecture. In this case, do I think Kawhi could get traded? Yes. Is there the potential that things get worked out? Yes, hence I mentioned the Aldridge situation. The whole reason I wrote the post was to provide an update that came from Woj with some prior context (Aldridge) and to bring up the value that Monty Williams could have in a negotiation.

          1. Hey man, just my opinion but the way you phrase your opinions comes off as arrogant and condescending to the readers and subscribers to the site and podcast. I used to be able to listen with Lefkoe because he kept it moving forward but it’s just not working for me. I gave it a sincere try but it simply doesn’t work for me. As you can tell I didn’t attack you as a person. I’m sure you’re a decent dude but there is a method to crafting the posts and voicing opinions. The best way to describe your tone is that it comes across as gargano-esque. He’s made a great living and lots of people like him but it’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.

            Kyle’s tone was fun and original, pointing out stupid shit that most people wouldn’t care about but it made for great reading. The site evolved and added voices, sadly in my opinion it took away what made it a must read.

            1. Of all the people, you had to compare me to Gargano… The way that I approach the NBA stuff is from a feeling of confidence. I can’t break down NFL game film like Lefkoe did, nor be as openly irreverent about certain topics like Kyle. One thing I believe I have a very solid base in is the NBA. If it comes off to you as arrogance (which isn’t the intention), then that’s a bummer on my end. I appreciate you reading the site, having a respectful back-and-forth in the comments, and listening to the podcast (not sure how long ago you stopped listening regularly).

          2. I agree with “You’re missing the point”

            Does Kyle know you denigrate and talk down to the commentators here….on purpose?

      2. Please refrain from using words/phrases like ‘ironclad’, ‘rebuttal’, “Let’s be clear’, ‘so we know’,
        “he’d be the top….”, “I’m not saying the audience is stupid……”

        You wrote a blog article on a site that gets maybe 3 dozen comments a day.
        THAT’S 36

        You’re guessing just like everyone else.

        and i’m being nice about what it make you look like.

        1. Which was the only time the podcast generated ANY chatter. Get a clue.

        2. I wasn’t sure which of your multiple comments you wanted me to respond to, but you’re right about me throwing an idea out there. That’s part of what makes having good, intelligent conversations on Philly sports topics possible. I’m not sure why “he’d be the top” is off-putting, but to each his own I suppose.

  2. can’t wait until the sixers tank again in 2018-2019 season.
    it’ll be anoterh year with no NBA/NHL championships in the wells fargo center.

  3. Six weeks ago you didn’t want LeBron. Now he’s part of your “favorite hypothetical.” And if you think you’re the first person to point out the Buford-Williams connection, you need to read more.

    1. When I was adamantly against signing LeBron, it was more about his fit with Simmons, which I’ve since reassessed. It’s also clear that they need a guy who can create his own shot and handle the ball a bit. Maybe that guy will be Fultz (hopefully), but if they can get LeBron they need to.

      I brought up the Williams as a FO guy last week on the podcast. I haven’t read as much in the last few days. How long ago did you see people write about it? I’m genuinely interested.

  4. Sixers already have an injury prone player, not sure it’ll be a good idea to get another one.
    Paul George that’s who I’d target

    1. I love what PG13 could bring to this team. He and Kawhi are perfect fits within the current system: can handle and create their own shots. While Kawhi has traditionally been a more ISO player, they’re both selfless and long defensively.

      1. Don’t respond to the midget avatar guy, he’s just a loser jersey burn out that lives in his mom’s basement that everyone hates and he listens to both sports stations 24/7. Just ignore him so he disappears.

  5. So if you were to get lbj and kawhi…where does each play?

    Lets say fultz is a player..lets just say

    Ill wait…kawhi wants the money as he should so does lbj

    I reported last month with inside information that the lbj decision was really between sixers and lakers…

    I honestly thought he was going to come here, however my belief now is la gets all 3…

    More importantly how can you gaurantee me that kawai is motivated..that hemisses out on a 100 mil ifhe plays for any other team

    1. There’s no doubt that the best business decision would be for Kawhi to play 2018-19 out, make one of the NBA All-Teams, qualify for the super max, and either sign an extension or work on a sign-and-trade, or opt-in for 2019-20. He’d be in the same place that any other super max-eligible star finds himself under this CBA: locked in with a team you might not like for WAY more money, or choose your destiny and a quasi discount.

      Lineup with Kawhi & LeBron: Simmons, McConnell/Belinelli, Kawhi, LeBron, Embiid. Filling out the 2 spot would be tricky, as Redick would have to weigh a mid-level exception (if the Sixers can clear more salary). Without him, you choose between a ball handler or a vet on a veteran minimum.

      Fultz doesn’t really factor in, as I’d assume any deal for Kawhi would need him included.

  6. So lemme get this straight, a site in which all the commentators act like 5th grade boys going through puberty is complaining about the author’s perceived arrogance? Gimmie a break.

    SA has zero leverage. If KL wants out, and wants to force his way to philly, than 10,26 MF and DS is a hell of a get. Before everyone responds by saying SA holds the cards, KL can just say he wont sign an extension with any team besides (philly) and bam, SA scrambles for the best offer.

    FYI, bobby marks on espn yesterday wrote about an offer of 10, cov and fultz for kawai and d white.

    1. Welcome to the party. I originally missed the Marks article. Just read it. I agree, SA doesn’t hold nearly the leverage that casual fans of the game think they do. He’s essentially a distressed asset, right? While Marks things 10, Cov, Fultz gets it done, I wouldn’t be shocked to see it cost a bit more or require a 3rd team. So much rides on what Fultz is and how successful his new shooting coach is at rebuilding his shot. Thanks for commenting!

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