SocraticGadfly: Here's a blockbuster trade idea:LeBron for Kawhi, straight up + tidbits as needed

June 25, 2018

Here's a blockbuster trade idea:
LeBron for Kawhi, straight up + tidbits as needed

The San Antonio Spurs are not one of the teams favored to land LeBron James, should the King opt out of his current contract with the Cavs, according to Vegas books. That hasn't stopped Spurs fans or Alamo City sports columnists from making noises about landing him.

(Don't forget to vote in my poll at right while you're here.)

And, why wouldn't it? Yea, it's not a high-shine city, but, it's a team with a high reputation. And LeBron's marketing power goes anywhere.

At the same time, what if the team's relationship with Kawhi Leonard turns out to be broken, as I have indicated I think it is, and Alamo City folks hope it's not? (It's broken, to the point Bruce Bowen is ripping Kawhi.)

To me, the solution is simple, if he would agree. Sign Kawhi to that supermax and then trade them, straight up, with LeBron opting into his contract, or rather, signing a new one that must, from the Spurs POV, be at least two years long.

From Leonard's POV, it gets him to a new place, one where he can be a clear team leader, and in the weaker Eastern Conference.

For the King? Simple. This Spurs team is better than his current Cavs one. (That's assuming that Cavs GM Altman's "make nice" claims don't pan out.)

Simple comps show that.

And, even though we are pretty sure now that Kawhi won't agree to an extension, I still make this deal if I'm the Spurs. (If I'm Pops and R.C. Buford, I stop believing that, unlike LaMarcus Aldridge a year ago, I can sweet-talk Kawhi back.

Danny Green is a younger, starting, better defending version of Kyle Korver, or a better version of George Hill. (But he may go FA; he has opted out.

Aldridge is a much better scoring, even rebounding, near-even defending version of Tristan Thompson.

Tony Parker becomes a shoot-first combo guard with James and is a smarter version of JR Smith. Parker, like Green, has opted out, but I think he'll find the offers aren't there.

Manu Ginobili, assuming he stays unretired with the chance to play with LeBron, is a smarter, more levelheaded Rodney Hood.

And Pau Gasol is a poor man's Kevin Love on offense, and no worse than him overall on D. (That said, Option B is throwing in Gasol to make salaries match if there's no Kawhi extension.)

And, Pops stays coaching to run that team.

If the Cavs insist on a pot sweetener? Either next year's second round pick, or next year's first for next year's Cavs second if that's not enough. (Those are just starting points for negotiation.) Or a back-end player who's not pricey, like, say, Dejounte Murray, if salaries stay within 125 percent, if Pau's not  part of the deal.

As for the Vegas sports books thinking the Dubs are odds-on to land the King? That's stupid. Whether through massive salary dumps for a free agency signing, or massive trades, that would be a huge chemistry change.

OK, if Kawhi won't do an extension, and LeBron just does a new one-plus-optout, does either team do this trade?

If I'm the Spurs, yes, because, contra current-level Pops and RC, I admit it's broken. And, I'm hoping that LeBron will extend.

If I'm the Cavs, yes, especially if I can throw another contract of my own back if Pau is included with Kawhi, and I can get a draft choice, too. I do this if it's the best way to tank.

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