While perusing Spanish sports newspaper Marca‘s site for news on Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus, I came across the headline “Pau Gasol podría ser traspasado a los Sixers en la operación de salida de Kawhi Leonard”.
Both Pau and Marc Gasol are icons in Spanish basketball and practically any news of their accomplishments on the court are reported on heavily. However, this one was different; it was an article about an NBA trade rumor and that simply doesn’t usually get traction on their basketball side. Marca picked up on a story by former ESPN basketball writer and current senior sports gambling writer for Get More Sports, Chris Sheridan, who reported today that Pau Gasol has been mentioned in trade scenarios between the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers as part of a Kawhi Leonard deal:
“When you are having simultaneous conversations with people all around the world and not a single person is telling you “That is untrue,” you have a smoke/fire situation.
And what I am hearing is that a trade scenario that would send Gasol to the 76ers is very much in play as one of the various Kawhi Leonard deals being pondered by the San Antonio Spurs.”
In addition to Gasol being an expiring contract, there’s a feeling that he could bring invaluable leadership and experience to a team led by the young core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Markelle Fultz. Remember, Brett Brown and company once pursued Manu Ginobili as a veteran presence for a young Sixers squad.
Speaking of Fultz, Sheridan mentioned that Fultz has not been mentioned in the trade scenarios being discussed, though he does believe that in addition to players, the Sixers would need to include three first-round picks.
As to the players involved in trade talks:
“Everyone in the NBA knows that an offer constructed around Dario Saric and Robert Covington has been put forth by the Sixers…”
The best nugget in the entire article – the one that has given me irrational confidence that a deal will be struck between the Spurs and Sixers – is this one:
“everyone around the NBA expects Gregg Popovich to eventually take care of his former assistant, Brown, despite swiping Marco Belinelli away from him in the first hours of free agency. Whether or not Saric ends up in the deal is an open question.”
For those who question Leonard’s commitment to playing basketball and his teammates, I once again implore you to remember:
- Brett Brown served as an assistant coach on a staff that developed the former #15 overall pick (Pacers) in the 2011 NBA Draft into a Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
- Monty Williams spent the past two years working in RC Buford’s front office.
If the Sixers are still exploring trade possibilities for Kawhi Leonard, it sends a clear message that they believe in Kawhi as a player on the court and as a man off of it. Whether or not a deal will be struck remains to be seen, but this story has legs.