The 26-year-old All-Star made just nine appearances for the Spurs last season after suffering a damaged quad, choosing to carry out his rehabilitation away from the team in New York.
Leonard was believed to be unhappy with the Spurs’ medical staff initial diagnosis and treatment of the injury and had drifted away from the team in recent months before last week’s news.
The Los Angeles Lakers, long-time admirers of the former Finals MVP, are considered favourites to sign Leonard and, according to ESPN, he would relish a move back to his native city.
However, a new report from USA Today’s Sam Amick today poured cold water on the idea that Leonard would be traded to a conference rival – if he is allowed to leave at all.
Leonard is eligible to sign a five-year, $219m supermax contract extension in San Antonio this summer and Spurs front office representatives remain hopeful of repairing the relationship sufficiently to make it happen.
But with Leonard’s apparent willingness to leave the Spurs – and the most lucrative offer available to him – it seems likely the former Defensive Player of the Year will move on.
Today, Amick claimed the Cleveland Cavaliers had made tentative enquiries about Leonard’s availability – a move that would appease impending free agent LeBron James’ desire to remain a championship contender if he decided to resign with the Cavs.
“They might have a better shot than anyone in the West, but they’d be hard-pressed to compete with the kind of packages that teams like Boston and Philadelphia could put forth,” Amick wrote.
“According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Cavs have inquired about Leonard but there is no traction on a possible deal.”
It comes after Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard warned that the Lakers might yet end up securing none of their top targets this summer – including both James and Leonard.