NBA Trade Rumors: Potential Trade Packages if Clippers Decide to Ship Away Kawhi Leonard

Published 07/03/2021, 12:00 PM EDT
Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The LA Clippers were one of the favorites to clinch the Western Conference trophy this season. With a team balanced with two-way beasts like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and a fantastic coach in Tyronn Lue, the Clippers looked set to dominate.

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With the Lakers eliminated in the very first round, the Clippers knew that they had a clear path to reach the Finals. After a slugfest against the Mavericks, the Clippers faced off against a resilient Jazz side.

Jun 12, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots while Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale (23) defends in the second quarter during game three in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

After losing two games, the Clippers won the series yet again as Kawhi and PG13 went off and won four games in a row. But the series win came at a huge cost as Kawhi injured his knee. With ‘the Klaw’ missing, the Clippers simply had a lot on their plate and crashed out in the Conference Finals.

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With free agency looming, the Clippers have some big decisions to make, but arguably the biggest of them all is Leonard’s status. While Kawhi does have a player option, he is set to decline the same.

Given all the injury woes and rumors surrounding his loyalty to the team, the Clippers might look to trade their star player. We take a look at the three possible packages the Clippers might look forward to if they are willing to sign and trade ‘the Klaw.’

Kawhi Leonard joins Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks

One thing is pretty clear- Paul George can be the standalone star of a playoff team. This was certainly evident in the 8 playoff games the Clippers paid in Leonard’s absence. Given the all-round display PG13 brings and also the fact that he rarely misses games, George might be the go-to option for Ty Lue.

In this scenario, the Clippers might take a gamble by trading Leonard. A possible package surrounding underperforming big man Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell and some first round picks might be the way to go for the Mavericks.

Jun 4, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) react after a Leonard shot during the fourth quarter during game six in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

While the Latvian big man looked horrendous in the playoffs, he has shown his capabilities when he is fully fit. With a full off-season ahead of him, the Clippers will get a dependable center who can space the floor.

Powell on the other hand will be a good addition to the forward rotation for the Clippers. This will also help them get rid of older centers like Serge Ibaka and DeMarcus Cousins. The picks on the other hand will be a much-needed addition to the assets they have.

Kawhi meanwhile will pair up with another MVP candidate in Luka Doncic. While the move might seem a bit puzzling, given that the Clippers will get a load of assets and young players, this is great long-term trade.

LA Clippers finally get a point guard

Ever since the Clippers traded Paul George, they have been struggling to find a perfect point guard to the team. While PG and Kawhi have developed playmaking skills, a true point guard is still missing from the roster.

One of the biggest names who might be available in the trading block is 76ers point guard Ben Simmons. Simmons, who is an All-Star, is an excellent floor general and is arguably one of the best players in transition.

Apart from his flawed shooting, the Australian is also an excellent defender. With some adjustments in his side, Simmons can become a key piece in the Clippers side. The 23-year-old will also let Paul George take the reins as the go-to guy in the offense for the Clippers.

A package surrounding Simmons, Shake Milton and two first round unprotected teams might look like a lot, but makes the Clippers future proof. Given that they only have a year or two as their championship window with Leonard and PG13 and the West becoming more and more competitive, the Clippers should be focused on building a dominant roster with a younger star at the foray.

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With Simmons’ trade value at an all-time low, the Clippers can also demand a player like Tyrese Maxey who is still in his rookie contract. The Clippers certainly haven’t fulfilled their expectations in the last two seasons.

Given the uncertainty surrounding ‘the Klaw”s future, a trade will be a safer bet for the Clippers to get something off their superstar’s departure. Do you think the Clippers will retain their superstar and run it back or will they eventually blow it up?

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Aditya Mohapatra

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Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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