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The Toronto Raptors have reportedly made the most compelling offer to the San Antonio Spurs for star forward Kawhi Leonard, according to ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst.
On Monday, Windhorst said Toronto could be the team in the best position to acquire Leonard. San Antonio has been determined in demanding a sizable return for Leonard, causing the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers to steadily decrease their communication with the Spurs.
“The Raptors have moved in because there isn’t anybody on the Raptors’ roster right now that isn’t available in a trade,” Windhorst said on TSN 1050. “The Raptors aren’t protecting anybody. The Raptors, I think, have a shorter timeline with this particular team than the Celtics or Sixers do.”
San Antonio is in no rush to trade Leonard and the organization wants a grand offer in return for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
With LeBron James leaving the Eastern Conference, the Raptors see a window of opportunity and are willing to take the risk of trading for Leonard knowing he could be a one-year rental.
“The Raptors have made an offer to the Spurs,” Windhorst said. “As far as I know, it’s the most compelling offer that the Spurs have right now. I think right now, they’re the only team active in discussions. There’s a couple of things you have to realize with this particular trade. It’s operating on the Spurs’ timetable. It’s not a matter of whether the Raptors make a decision to make an offer, or to put a player in the offer. This is the Spurs. The Spurs have never done this before. They are working very methodically. They’re not under any real deadline. It’s not as simple as making an offer and waiting. It really has to do with the Spurs and if they decide to execute a trade.”
The Raptors could potentially build a trade for Leonard centered around either DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry, and some combination of OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and future draft pick compensation.
Even without a guarantee he’ll stay beyond next season, it appears the Raptors aren’t afraid to trade for Leonard, who when healthy, is a top-five player in the NBA. Multiple general managers told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher during the first weekend of the Las Vegas Summer League that they would trade for Leonard knowing the risks involved.
“The other part is would Kawhi want to stay long-term? I don’t know if you’re going to get that answer,” Windhorst said. “Even if Kawhi was able to speak directly to the Raptors, I don’t know if you’ve ever talked to Kawhi before, but he doesn’t give direct answers to questions. This is a very muddled situation.
“I’m sure Masai (Ujiri), Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse and other members of the Raptors’ front office have been going around and around on this trying to get their minds around it. Trying to figure out whether this is something they should do. But it’s there. It’s in front of them.”
Leonard reportedly prefers to play for one of the teams in Los Angeles. There have, however, been conflicting reports as of late, as some reports indicate Leonard is fixated on joining the Lakers, while other outlets are reporting he favors the Clippers now that James is on the Lakers.