Kawhi Leonard trade: Spurs asked Sixers for Embiid, Simmons

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. (Photo: Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs were finally able to move disgruntled superstar Kawhi Leonard. However, it wasn’t to the Philadelphia 76ers, instead, it was to their Atlantic division rival.

The Spurs traded Leonard and guard Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 protected first-round pick on Wednesday. It was a surprising move because various signs pointed to the Spurs possibly trading him to the Sixers.

But that trade did not come to fruition due to San Antonio’s reported lack of interest in packages surrounding draft picks and unproven players.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Sixers’ trade package of Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and the Miami Heat’s unprotected 2021 draft pick did not interest the Spurs at all. 

What did the Spurs want from the Sixers for Kawhi Leonard?

However, what would have gotten San Antonio’s attention is if the Sixers included Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid in a deal. Lowe wrote that the Spurs made it clear to the Sixers that any deal for Leonard would require Simmons or Embiid.

As expected, the Sixers did not even entertain this idea from San Antonio. The ESPN scribe also included in his story that trade talks with the Sixers and the Boston Celtics stalled weeks ago.

It is almost hilarious to think that the Spurs had the nerve to ask the Sixers for either player in a trade for Leonard. While Leonard is a great player when healthy, he is not worth giving up a potential generational talent in Joel Embiid in a deal. 

The same thing goes for Simmons, whose ceiling is on the verge of being higher than the 27-year-old Leonard. 

Looking at this trade in its totality, should San Antonio have taken the Sixers’ first proposed package over what the Raptors sent?

Maybe. They would not have received an All-Star player from the Sixers like they got from Toronto, but they would have acquired two solid NBA players that could contribute immediately.

However, that is neither here nor there. The trade is final and Leonard will be a Toronto Raptor at least for this upcoming season. But it is amazing to see what teams try to pull in trade discussions for certain players.

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