The Golden State Warriors are reportedly planning some moves to build a contending team for the expected return of Klay Thompson next season, but analysts say acquiring Kawhi Leonard is not one of them.
A wild rumor emerged this week claiming that Golden State planned to make a run at Leonard when he hits free agency this summer, creating what would be a super team to compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers. The report started with Evan Massey of Hoop Analysis Net, who admitted that it is far from likely to pan out.
“The Golden State #Warriors are expected to look into pursuing Kawhi Leonard in free agency if he is open to leaving the #Clippers, source tells @HoopAnalysisNet,” Massey tweeted. “It’s a long shot, but something to watch.”
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Analysts Say Leonard Out of Reach
There seems to be no backing for Massey’s report, however, with other insiders pointing out that anyone of Leonard’s status would be far too expensive for the Warriors to target. Sam Quinn of CBS Sports noted that Golden State is so far away from Leonard’s likely asking price in free agency that it would be virtually impossible for them to make a run at him.
“Practically speaking, they can’t,” Quinn tweeted. “They have $164 million committed for next season BEFORE their draft picks. The hard cap is gonna be in the low $140’s. They’d have to clear $20-30 million+ AND match Kawhi’s salary in an S&T. That ain’t happening. This screams clickbait to me.”
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) April 12, 2021
Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose Mercury News seemed to share Quinn’s assessment, noting that it is simply not possible for the Warriors to chase the five-time All Star and that Leonard is widely expected to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Not only is the fiscally next-to-impossible for the Warriors, Kawhi is also not leaving the Clippers,” Kurtenbach tweeted, adding some choice words about the veracity of the rumor.
Warriors Could Have Other Targets
While the Leonard-to-Dubs rumor was widely debunked, it did highlight some of the offseason difficulties the Warriors could face. With Thompson expected to return and Steph Curry likely playing at his peak for another two to three seasons, the Warriors are reportedly looking to go all-in for another run at an NBA title. While the likelihood of a splashy free agent like Leonard is next to none, some expect to Warriors to make improvements in other ways.
HBD PASCAL SIAKAM!
2010: Started playing basketball
2016: Drafted 27th in the NBA
2017: D-League Champion
2017: D-League Finals MVP
2019: Most Improved Player
2019: NBA Champion
2020: NBA All-Star Starter
2020: NBA All-NBA 2nd Team pic.twitter.com/rID9KD2lnA
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 2, 2021
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz believes that the Warriors will make a run at Raptors big man Pascal Siakam in the offseason, unloading 20-year-old James Wiseman and swingman Andrew Wiggins in a trade with Toronto. The Warriors remained committed to Wiseman throughout the year, gradually boosting his playing time and reportedly turning down trade offers for him at the deadline. Wiseman has now gone down with what looks to be a season-ending knee injury, so it’s not clear how that might change the team’s short- or long-term plans for him, or how much his trade value may have dipped due to the setback.
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