On Monday, the often long-winded David Murphy penned a piece that has given me new life. Rather than writing the same LeBron-to-Philly article that every reporter and blog boy (hey, KD) has put out over the last few months, Murphy outlined the hypothetical I talked about on Crossing Broadcast in February : trading for Spurs’ superstar Kawhi Leonard.
Murphy on the cap flexibility of trading for Kawhi vs. signing PG13/LeBron, assuming Kawhi signs a max extension in 2019-20:
The Sixers would be paying Leonard $20.1 million in 2018-19 (the last year of his current deal) and $32.4 million in 2019-20 (Year 1 of his extension). That’s a savings of $10.2 million over a max deal for Paul George and $15.25 million over a max deal for LeBron in 2018-19. In 2019-20, Leonard would cost about a half million more than George and about $5 million less than LeBron.
The thing to keep in mind is a trade for Kawhi would likely need to include at least two of Fultz, Dario, or Cov as well as this year’s likely #10 overall pick and potentially another first round pick. That’s a ton to give up, but Leonard was the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and a two-time member of the All-NBA First Team.
Here’s where I lost my mind.
Fultz and the No. 10 pick, on the other hand, would clear an additional $11.4 million in cap space, leaving their total room at $22.9 million…
It’s also within striking distance of the room they’d need to clear to add another max guy. Say, George. Trade Robert Covington and Anderson and they’d be there, with $35.9 million to spend.
SIGN. ME. UP.
Getting Kawhi and PG13 would obviously eliminate some of the team’s depth and cost Process-era players to whom many fans have become attached. However, if you have the ability to add multiple All-Stars, both of whom can create their own shot and play in the fast-paced, pass-heavy Brett Brown offense, you have to make the dream a reality.
In the post-season teams often shorten their bench, especially in crunch time. Which top 7 would you prefer:
A) Simmons, Embiid, LeBron, Dario, Covington, Fultz, Belinelli
B) Simmons, Embiid, Kawhi, Paul George, Dario, Belinelli, TJ
For my money, I’m taking B. Yes, your team isn’t 12-men deep, but a lineup of:
is the best way to compete with the Boston Celtics for the next decade and presents matchup problems for a Golden State team that will likely be without Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala in two years.