2018 NBA Draft
Report: Phoenix Suns won't deal No. 1 pick for Kawhi Leonard
From NBA media reports
Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants out of San Antonio. Assuming that is the case, the Spurs are looking for a trade package valuable enough to consider parting ways with the two-time All-Star and former Finals MVP. The Lakers, 76ers and Celtics were immediately considered viable options given their wealth of draft assets and/or young players on the rise.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, however, introduced another possible destination for Leonard on Friday: the Phoenix Suns.
“Several league sources told me they anticipate Suns general manager Ryan McDonough to probe a Leonard deal using the no. 1 pick,” O’Connor wrote.
Scott Bordow of AZCentral.com, however, refuted the notion that Phoenix would be willing to deal the first No. 1 overall pick in franchise history for Leonard.
“There’s no truth to the report,” Bordow wrote on Saturday. “In fact, the Suns have no interest in dealing the top pick – which likely will be University of Arizona center Deandre Ayton – in exchange for Leonard, who reportedly wants to be traded.”
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center out of the University of Arizona, was considered the favorite to go first overall even before declaring earlier this month, “I know I’m going No. 1” following his workout with the Suns.
McDonough, however, entered the offseason with publicly stated intentions of speeding up the Suns’ timeline in an attempt to enter playoff contention as early as next season. If healthy, Leonard would likely help the Suns achieve that goal sooner than the 19-year-old Ayton.
Bordow, however, was adamant that Phoenix would not agree to such a deal, especially given that Leonard could leave the Suns as early as next summer.
“From the Suns’ standpoint, the trade makes little sense,” Bordow wrote. “Leonard will be a free agent after the 2018-19 season. Phoenix would risk trading its most valuable asset for a player who might not be around for more than one year.”
The Suns beat writer’s conclusion on the matter left no room for doubt: “This much is certain: The Suns will not trade their No. 1 pick for Leonard.”