It’s no mystery that the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to make a big splash this summer.
After being the proverbial doormats of the NBA for the last five years, the Sixers’ process came together in 2017-18, winning 52 games while making it to the Eastern Conference semifinals before falling to the Boston Celtics.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have quickly become the young nucleus of a talented team, but another large piece is needed to create a legitimate championship puzzle.
That could come in the form of a big free-agent signing like LeBron James or Paul George, but it could also come via the trade market.
San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has quickly seen his relationship with the team that drafted him deteriorate this year stemming off rehabilitation philosophies of an injured quadriceps.
It’s gotten to the point where some inside the Spurs organization are legitimately worried about the team trading Leonard, who is a two-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year winner along with a 2013-14 NBA Finals MVP.
The Sixers have been a team constantly linked with Leonard throughout these initial rumors considering they have a bevy of young talent to offer the Spurs, who would be looking for a sizeable return should they actually put their star on the market.
Leonard is signed through the 2018-19 season, with a player option in 2019-20, before becoming a free agent, where he will be eligible for a super-max contract.
Philadelphia could make the cap space needed to fit Leonard’s $20 million this season without too many issues considering they are slated to have around $30 million worth of cap space this summer before having to worry about accommodating the forward with an astronomical contract.
Should they get to trade negotiations, the 76ers now have the No. 10 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft to offer, which could sweeten the pot. Philadelphia obtained the pick during Tuesday night’s draft lottery.
It would be a notable part of a trade package considering this year’s draft class is considered to be a rather deep one. It’s also not out of the realm of possibilities that it would be too low a pick to help along a possible deal. Last year saw the Chicago Bulls trade their star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 pick of the 2017 draft.