Report: Sixers have interest in trading for Kawhi Leonard

By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The verdict is still out on whether the San Antonio Spurs plan on offering small forward Kawhi Leonard a max contract extension, but in the meantime, interest in trading for the superstar couldn't be higher as of now.

According to a report on Wednesday from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, there are teams interested in trading for Leonard even if that means they would have to give up young assets. One of those teams is the Philadelphia 76ers.

"The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers have interest in Leonard, each with a differing array of young assets to trade for him now and the potential of salary-cap space to sign Leonard outright in 2019."

As noted in the report, Leonard is set to become a free agent in 2019, which may deter some teams from giving up valuable assets especially if he doesn't choose to re-sign beyond this season.

But for the Sixers, a trade and then an immediate re-signing brings a lot of interest to what Kawhi Leonard could bring heading into next season.

Leonard was the center of a lot of attention and drama surrounding the Spurs this past season. He went from a reported quad injury to a fall-out with Gregg Popovich and the Spurs organization to the team discussing a super-max extension at the end of the season.

To be short and sweet, talks between Leonard and the Spurs over the past year couldn't be stranger.

According to Wojnarowski, trades for Kawhi Leonard aren't that foreign of a concept over the past several months. Before the trade deadline, the Celtics reportedly made an offer for Leonard, which the Spurs turned down.  "So far this spring, the Spurs remain resistant to trades," Woj said.

But that shouldn't change how teams approach trading for Leonard this summer, as the interest for the small forward has skyrocketed over the last several weeks. Injuries may have hampered his play in the last couple seasons, but after a season of rehabilitation and getting back into the rhythm of things, Leonard seems poised to make a splash for some team in 2018-19.

It's no secret there is a rift between Popovich and Leonard in San Antonio, and according to Woj, some league sources don't believe Popovich will be coaching the Spurs past 2020, which could entice the team to keep Leonard for the long haul anyway.

Like the report states, the Sixers do have the pieces to make a trade for Kawhi Leonard if they so choose to go in that direction. Whether it be a combination of draft picks, Markelle Fultz, and a Robert Covington-type player, it may be enough to persuade the Spurs to let go of Leonard.

The summer of Sixers free agency is upon us, and there's definitely an interest in the team acquiring one of Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, or Paul George.