Alford: Sixers should be wary of Kawhi Leonard trade

Should the Philadelphia 76ers make a trade for San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard? That is the question many Sixers fans are pondering after the news broke on Friday afternoon that Leonard wants out of San Antonio.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, the All-star forward has grown frustrated with how the team treated his quad injury. Leonard also felt that the Spurs turned on him after he went to seek a second opinion on his injury.

Then to make matters more interesting in this NBA soap opera, Leonard preferably wants to go to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers just like the Sixers are in the same boat this offseason.

Both teams are in the conversation for LeBron James, Paul George and interested in Leonard’s services.

However, is it worth it for the Sixers to get into the high-priced sweepstakes? Think about it, whoever makes a trade for Leonard will have to give up a young player plus more for a potential one-year rental.

Leonard is eligible for a five-year, $215 million contract extension from the Spurs this offseason. But he may not accept it and play out the final year of his contract, becoming a free agent in 2019.

If they were to acquire Leonard, could they convince the quiet superstar to stay in Philadelphia and not go back home to Los Angeles?

This a question that head coach Brett Brown and the rest of the Sixers’ front office would have to ask themselves.

In addition to trying to get Leonard to sign a long-term extension, the Sixers would have to give up a lot for him.

On Friday, ESPN posted a story about the seven best trades for Kawhi Leonard. The Sixers were one of the teams mentioned in the story and NBA insider Bobby Marks came up with a potential package for them.

Marks had the Sixers giving up Robert Covington, Markelle Fultz, and the No. 10 pick in the draft in exchange for Leonard and Derrick White.

Again, this would be a lot for the Sixers to give up for a one-year rental. In his trade explanation, Marks said that the Sixers could offer Leonard a four-year, $107 million extension before hitting free agency in 2019.

But would Leonard accept an extension like that, when he could receive upwards of $200 million on the free agent market?

On the other hand, the Sixers would be giving the Spurs a first-team NBA All-Defensive player, a young point guard, who has not reached his full potential yet, and a No. 10 pick that could turn out to be an impact player.

Is Leonard worth tearing down ‘The Process’ for? I don’t believe so, especially when the Sixers can still get James or George in free agency.

For the Sixers and their fans, they should not put all their eggs into this summer’s free agency because they can still be a player in next year’s free agency.

The worst thing the Sixers could do is rush and make a decision that sets the franchise back a few years. Remember the Andrew Bynum trade in the summer of 2012? It was a disaster and while I’m not comparing Leonard to Bynum in no ways because one is a supremely better player.

We saw the impact on the franchise and the steps it took to just get back to this point with the Sixers in the playoffs this season.

Therefore, it would not be in the Sixers’ best interest to make a blockbuster trade for a guy, who could bounce after one season, while San Antonio reaps the benefits of adding young and talented players.

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