Many potential suitors are lining up to land the former Finals MVP. This includes the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are dangling what few assets they have in hopes of getting the superstar forward.
According to Cleveland.com, the Cavs have made calls to San Antonio in hopes of making a deal. This comes amid the uncertainty on what LeBron James will do in the offseason.
Can Cleveland Pull Off This Trade?
They have All-Star forward Kevin Love, Brooklyn’s first-round pick (eighth overall), and a few young players. Love is the most-attractive piece here, but he also plays the same position as San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.
That said, it’s hard to see Cleveland having enough to land Leonard, who, when healthy, is one of the league’s top-5 players.
Should Cleveland Even Try to Make This Deal?
Trading for Leonard now is tricky, because he has just one year on his contract. He’s most interested in playing for the Lakers. But if the Spurs trade him elsewhere, then it might just be a one-year rental.
Therefore, Cleveland needs a long-term commitment that Leonard would even be interested in re-signing. Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto highlighted the dangers in making this deal without a commitment:
“Trading for Leonard for one year with no commitment to his future is a risk for any team. Oklahoma City did that for Paul George, shipping Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana last summer. George had a year left on his contract. He said he wants to play in L.A. Oladipo and Sabonis have helped revive the Pacers and will be part of the team for the next few years.”
Another side to consider is if Leonard is truly over his quadriceps injury. L.A. is reportedly cautious on the deal, because they don’t know if he’ll be healthy. That said, Cleveland could make this deal only to end up in another Isaiah Thomas situation.
Why do the Cavs Want Leonard?
There’s a sense of mystery on why Cleveland is so interested in Leonard. Is it because they want to bolster their roster in a last-ditch attempt to keep LeBron. Or are they simply hoping to be competitive after he leaves?
The latter makes little sense, considering that the Cavs would have to give up a major piece(s) just to get Leonard. But adding him alongside LeBron could make them stronger contenders to dethrone the Golden State Warriors. They’ll also have to stave off an improved Boston Celtics team in the East.