MILWAUKEE -- Just a few days ago, it was reported that former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio, according to ESPN. Will the Milwaukee Bucks at least make an offer for the superstar?
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard prefers to be traded to Los Angeles, but at the end of the day, the 2011 first-round pick is still under contract for another year, meaning it will be the Spurs front office making the move that will be the best for them.
It is also difficult to understand why Gregg Popovich and General Manager R.C. Buford would ship their superstar to a western conference competitor, especially when their conference already contains the majority of the league's star players and teams. Although no decisions have been made, the eastern conference seems to be a good fit for Leonard.
Enter the Milwaukee Bucks. With a new arena, Giannis Antetokounmpo and head coach Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks are starting to prove why they should be a destination spot for big-time players. Another positive they have is the relationship between Bucks player Tony Snell and Leonard. They were teammates in high school.
Why does Leonard make sense for this Bucks team? For starters, the Bucks couldn't defend the three-point line to save their lives last season, and struggled to find that second superstar type player to carry the load with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Leonard, the two-time defensive player of the year, has proven to be one of the NBA's best perimeter defenders. He makes a lot of sense for the Bucks to go after.
However, with Leonard only having one year remaining on his contract and a max-deal to follow, the Bucks would be taking on a great risk trading for one of the league's best. Regarldess, it's time to at least attempt that risk because mediocrity is not going to cut it any longer.
If the Bucks were to look into this potential trade, Jabari Parker would be gone. Parker cannot be traded until NBA free-agency begins, so if this potential deal were to gain traction, the Bucks could offer Parker in a sign-and-trade deal along with other pieces. The odds of resigning Parker to a long-term deal, along with Leonard's deal, would be very unlikely.
Parker alone would not be enough to get it done. The Spurs would certainly ask for Khris Middleton and the Bucks first-round pick (17th overall) for starters, probably more. The trade is a stretch for the NBA's 27th largest market, but this high-risk, high-reward scenario could bring the Bucks to the promised land.
Another thing to remember is a lot of these rumors depend on where LeBron James will end up. If James chooses to go the the west, eastern conference teams will be much more aggressive in trying to acquire Leonard. A chance at making the NBA finals would be a good enough reason to make Leonard resign with any team.
No question that any attempt at this trade will be difficult for Jon Horst and the front office, but after skipping over last season's Kyrie Irving sweepstakes, it is time for this team to get themselves to the next level with an Antetokounmpo and Leonard front-court.