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NBA Daily: Should the Philadelphia 76ers Trade For Kawhi Leonard?

Simon Hannig explores whether the 76ers should pony up the required assets for Kawhi Leonard.

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The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the teams that have been mentioned as a possible trade partner to acquire superstar Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs.

The Sixers need to take advantage now and trade for Leonard.

The Sixers have assets the Spurs will possibly like. If the Sixers want to contend for a shot at going to the NBA Finals next season, Leonard may just be the one to push them over the edge.

Can you imagine a core of Ben Simmons-Joel Embiid-Kawhi Leonard in the East? I don’t even think a healthy Boston team could beat them.

The window of opportunity for the Sixers is right now. They have a ton of assets, especially young players the Spurs would love to have. Even without assurances from Leonard, the Sixers need to take an opportunity like this and jump at it. Having a player of this caliber like Leonard on the trade market does not happen all that often. Let’s look and see what type of trades these two teams can make.

Trade A: Spurs receive: Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot, Jerryd Bayless, a 2019 first round pick and 2021 first round pick (via Miami).
Sixers receive: Kawhi Leonard.

Trade B: Spurs receive: Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot, Robert Covington, Furkan Korkmaz, Zhaire Smith (draft rights) a 2019 first round pick and 2021 first round pick (via Miami).
Sixers receive: Kawhi Leonard and Pau Gasol.

Trade B could happen for a couple of reasons. The Spurs get rid of a bad contract in Gasol, and even though they take on Covington and his contract, the Spurs still save $5.8 million in the deal. The Spurs land former number one overall pick in Fultz. They also get a rookie in Smith who they can develop along with Lonnie Walker IV. Plus, they get two first round picks. The 2021 first round pick (via Miami) is a pick the Spurs should covet in any trade.

And of course, the Sixers land Leonard.

Who knows how that Miami team will look in three years from now. They could be in a rebuilding project and the pick could end up very valuable for the Spurs.

The time for the Sixers to cash in on the assets they have is right now, and they need to go all-in with their pursuit of Leonard from the Spurs.

The core of Simmons-Leonard-Embiid and whoever else they add to the team in free agency is a title contender right away. For the Sixers, you have a chance to sell Leonard on staying in Philadelphia for the long haul. Yes, Leonard may want to go and play for the Lakers, but the Sixers would have a golden opportunity to sell Leonard on the team being a championship contending team, with an excellent front office and coaching staff and great ownership.

This all can happen next season if the Sixers acquire Leonard. Plus, Leonard may find it easier to get to the NBA Finals in the East than the West because he does not have to face the likes of the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets in the playoffs. The East is an easier path to the NBA Finals.

The Sixers need to take the risk right now and cash in on their assets. This trade will take the Sixers to the place they need to be as a franchise and as a team. This is a golden opportunity to show Simmons and Embiid of how serious you are about winning and contending right now. Not only does it show Simmons and Embiid of how serious you are about winning a title, it also tells the fans you are serious.

Philadelphia, take the risk. It’ll be worth it.

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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