We’re only ten days removed from the NBA Finals and free agency is already in a frenzy. Word spread that Kawhi Leonard wanted out of San Antonio with aims at Los Angeles and that just got the ball rolling. All of the trade scenarios and where he could possibly end up has been the talk of the town over the past couple of days. The possibility of a Los Angeles pairing is scarce with Chris Sheridan reporting that there’s no chance of Leonard staying in the Western Conference if he was traded:
“He is not going to Los Angeles…or any other destination in the Western Conference, sources are telling GetMoreSports.com”
With that being said, another team has transitioned into the picture trying to make a grab at the San Antonio forward. The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in attaining Leonard and have already made calls to the Spurs (via Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com). This could mean a possible pairing of Leonard and LeBron James, granted the King stays.
This is a smart move by the Cavaliers. Even if they aren’t successful, it shows James that they’re trying to build a better team around him. The main focus of the offseason is to keep the four-time MVP at all costs. But could this team beat the two-time defending champs? With adding Leonard, you gain a bonafide defender, who can lockdown at every position on the floor. He’s someone who can add length to the floor, a guy who can score, but also gives the Cavaliers what they truly need and that’s playmaking.
Leonard’s playmaking ability has risen over the years. He was known for his defense but he grew into his own on the offensive side of the ball, becoming a better shooter and a playmaker overall. He’s found ways to create space and get his own shot which is something that Cleveland lacks outside of James.
However, I’m not sure that Leonard puts them over the edge. While his defense would be a tremendous burst, I don’t think he adds enough playmaking to the mix. The Cavaliers had one of the best playmakers in the NBA just two years ago in Kyrie Irving and they still lost to the Warriors in five games. Does Leonard make them more competitive? Sure, but I believe you would need more pieces outside of just Leonard to truly take down the Warriors. So it truly depends on who else they could possibly add around Leonard and James.