Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has requested to be traded this offseason after a tumultuous season in which injuries limited him to just nine appearances, according to ESPN and Yahoo! Sports. Los Angeles is Leonard’s preferred destination and he’d like to go to the Lakers, per ESPN.
Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, should be heavily coveted by teams across the league this summer. He’s one of basketball’s premier two-way players and while durability has been a question mark, there’s little doubt about the impact he makes when healthy.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Leonard were supposed to meet this week in order to discuss a possible contract extension. Based on this news coming out, it doesn’t appear that those talks led to much progress.
Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs became frayed over the last year regarding the handling of his injuries. There were multiple reports of friction between the player’s camp and the team, which stumbled from 61 wins to just 47 in his absence.
Few players can produce like Leonard, who turns 27 later this month, when he’s healthy. The forward averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in 2016-17. Those numbers dipped to 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game during his injury-limited appearances last season.