SAN ANTONIO — Apparently, the San Antonio Spurs were not even considering trading former Spur Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Lakers no matter what.
In an article from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, no matter what the Lakers offered, San Antonio was adamant to never send the former Spur to the West Coast.
When Spurs GM RC Buford finally called back Pelinka after Leonard’s springtime trade request, the Lakers were left with an unmistakable impression: Buford and Gregg Popovich would never send Leonard to Los Angeles — no matter what the Lakers offered. The Spurs always denied any absolute “no Lakers” stance, arguing the Lakers’ package never captivated them.
The Spurs and Lakers have been rivals and have dominated the West before the rise of the Warriors.
Sending Leonard would have bolstered the Lakers in the West and make playing them that much tougher to face. Or push them to an NBA title paired with LeBron James.
Had the Lakers and Spurs made a deal, it likely would have involved sending young talent like Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram to the Spurs to add to their youth movement.
The Spurs ultimately traded Leonard to the Raptors along with Danny Green in exchange for Jakob Poeltl, DeMar DeRozan and a protected 2019 first-round pick.
In addition, it was reported by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that New Orleans General Manager Dell Demps sought the advice of Popovich regarding how to deal with Anthony Davis reportedly wanting to be sent to the Lakers. Smith claimed Popovich advised Demps to "not cave into" the Lakers' demands.