The Los Angeles Clippers are in trouble once again in the playoffs and might suffer a choke job for the second straight season. With all the trouble the franchise is in, all eyes are on Kawhi Leonard and his future. After all, he is the franchise player of the team and was the reason behind the mega trade of Paul George last year. If the Clippers lose the series, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Kawhi Leonard is leaving town.
The best landing spot for Kawhi Leonard is the Miami Heat. There have been reports that Leonard has a great relationship with Jimmy Butler, and he can find a perfect replacement for Paul George with the Heat. Miami plays hard every night and builds their entire philosophy off of team chemistry and hard work. Kawhi Leonard fits like a glove with the team, especially since Jimmy Butler can be the vocal leader.
Kawhi Leonard is a free agent this summer and is free to sign where he wants. But the deal involving the Heat and Clippers will very likely be a sign and trade, meaning there will be a blockbuster deal in the cards. The reason is simple: Duncan Robinson (Qualifying Offer 2021), Kendrick Nunn (Qualifying Offer 2021), and Tyler Herro (Team Option 2022) are all young players with money coming their way down the road.
Instead of Miami paying for these three players, they can package them in a blockbuster deal for one of the best players in the game for the long term. Here is why the following trade package works best for Kawhi Leonard and the Miami Heat.
Trade Package: Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa, a first-round pick, a second-round pick for Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard Forms The Best Defensive Team In The NBA
The Miami Heat are an incredible franchise. Even without any real talent, the team fought hard until they were able to lure 5-time All-Star Jimmy Butler in free agency. Paired with the growth of Bam Adebayo and the leadership of Eric Spoelstra, the Heat immediately became one of the best teams in the East. Reaching the NBA Finals last year was their most incredible achievement.
But the Heat need a third star to compete with the most talented teams in the league, while Leonard needs a more cohesive unit around him to get the job done. Leonard wants his 3rd NBA championship after all, while Jimmy Butler is craving his 1st. Leonard fits best with the Heat, a team that will be able to field 3 All-NBA Defensive Team players in a system that caters to getting stops. Leonard and George have been an excellent duo on defense, but the trio of Butler, Leonard, and Bam would be even better.
The Heat tried to acquire their third defensive star in Victor Oladipo, but the star was dealing with nagging injuries and will not play this season or possibly the next. Kawhi Leonard is a much better fit for Miami, and The Claw will take Miami back to their place as the best team in the East alongside the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn have 3 stars of their own and the only way for Miami to challenge them is by acquiring Kawhi Leonard.
The Clippers Rebuild Immediately With Herro And Robinson
If the Clippers lose this series, they are in deep trouble. Kawhi Leonard will want to go to the Miami Heat, but what about their rebuild? The entire team can be made available if Leonard leaves because none of them offer any real long-term value outside of rookie Terrence Mann. Most importantly, what about Paul George?
The Clippers extended a massive haul of first-round picks to acquire Paul George last year, so they could dangle him for a similar return of what they gave up. But Miami's trade return in the sign and trade deal gives the Clippers the perfect players to build around. Herro is 21 years old and hasn't followed up his fantastic season last year with a great one this year. A change of scenery could do him good, especially because he has All-Star potential.
Duncan Robinson is 27, but shooting never grows old and the modern NBA will always require marksmanship of his caliber. Nunn is 25 and has room to develop into an automatic starting point guard. Precious Achiuwa is a 6'8'' power forward with a lot of upsides, and the 2 picks complete a 6-man haul for Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are going to lose the series and lose their franchise star, Miami's trade package is the best way for them to rebuild.