Nick Wright outlines why the Spurs’ focus on trading Kawhi solely to an Eastern Conference team is misguided

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Nick Wright outlines to Cris Carter and Sarah Kustok why Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs should focus on getting the best offer for Kawhi Leonard instead of solely looking to deal Kawhi to an Eastern Conference team.

- If people believe the only place that you're getting him for more than one year is Los Angeles, then he made it to where the best offers the Spurs will get would be from one of the two Los Angeles teams-- now that the draft has passed, most likely the Lakers. The Clippers, when they saw those draft picks that weren't yet human beings, they were just intangible picks, then they could have made a package.

But here's the thing. And I understand there's a real rivalry between the Spurs and the Lakers. I understand that these are the two-- until Golden State came about in the last four years, these two teams dominated the conference. For 20 years, it was between the Spurs and the Lakers. You had ten championships between these teams from '99 up to right now. So I get it.

But when you have an opportunity that the Spurs have, which is one of the best trade assets to come about in recent NBA history, you have to take the best offer no matter who is offering it. Now if the best offer comes from the East, that's a bonus. But I would not turn down any offer because of who's offering it if it's my best offer.

- And I think you bring up a great point about the 20 year, the rivalry. But if you look, since Pop and RC Buford have been there, how did the Lakers get their best players? Through a trade. So why would I help a franchise that is on a downward trend? Why would I help them resurrect their basketball future in giving them my best player?

Now I do believe that them demanding to go to the Lakers that they could always try to get a better deal from a another team in the East. But Pop saying that he was only going to coach for two more seasons, I believe he's a very, very responsible person. And he is not going to be the person to leave San Antonio in worse basketball shape by letting Kawhi go to the Lakers when he resigns and then having to watch them battle with the Lakers for championships into the future.

- Pop finally sat down with Kawhi this past week. If you are the Spurs, would you consider just keeping him? Are you in a rush to actually make a deal? Or would you wait until as far as the trade deadline? What's your time line?

- If it's as broken as Kawhi's camp has made it seem that it is, as far as the relationship, that whether it started with a misdiagnosis and then some anger about what was leaked, what wasn't leaked, some of the things that teammates said, if it is so broken that you are all but certain he's leaving, then you have to trade him before the season starts because you have to get a legitimate return.

Like, I want people to understand because he sat out a year. So I think people forget how good this guy is. The last time a top-five player in his prime was available, you could argue, was Kevin Garnett. You might argue it goes before that to Shaq when he went Lakers to Heat. This is similar to Barkley going to the Suns. This is much bigger than Kyrie Irving being available.

A guy that's in that 8 to 15 range comes available every couple, three years. Kawhi Leonard is 26 years old, and defensive player of the year, and a Finals MVP. He's available. If you can get him, it means one thing. But it also means if you're trading him, you have to get a king's ransom for it.

- Yeah, and there's no system that he can't play in. I you want to play up and down, Kawhi can play that. If you want to play half court basketball, you can play that. He's self-motivated, and we know he's one of the best two-way players. So when you talk about how good Kawhi is, I mean, he can fit in any team, any organization. So for me, they have to be able to get a significant haul in trading him.