Potential unrest for the star players in Portland and Los Angeles could lead to major changes for both the Trail Blazers and Clippers in the weeks ahead. Kawhi Leonard, who has a player option this summer, could push the Clippers to make a blockbuster trade. In Portland, Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes highlighted that Lillard’s relationship with the Blazers could be deteriorating.
In regards to the potential for Lillard and Leonard to join forces in Los Angeles, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor detailed the obstacles that Clippers would have to overcome to achieve that level of a move.
Damian Lillard is disgruntled with the Trail Blazers, according to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. It’s worth noting that in 2019 Lillard was on Leonard’s list of stars he wanted to team up with, league sources say. But Lillard has four seasons remaining on his contract. Portland doesn’t need to trade him. If it came to the point where a trade was inevitable, Los Angeles wouldn’t have many goodies to add to a trade involving George, and if the Blazers would rather have younger players and picks, the Clippers would easily be outbid.
For Leonard, if he is looking for a change, O’Connor explained that the Mavericks could emerge as an ideal suitor.
Dallas is considered by some executives to be the most serious threat to land Kawhi because of Luka Doncic’s presence and the front office’s ability to create maximum cap space or work out a sign-and-trade. During Leonard’s years with Nike, he also developed a good relationship with Nico Harrison, the Mavs’ new general manager and a former longtime executive at the company.
Last year, Leonard averaged 24.8 points per game in 52 regular season outings. In the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Leonard suffered a knee injury that forced him out of the Western Conference Finals. According to multiple reports, a rift was created between Leonard and the Clippers’ medical staff as a result.
You can read the full story from O’Connor at The Ringer.