If the LA Clippers blow it up, should Kawhi Leonard be a name to consider?

If the LA Clippers blow it up, should Kawhi Leonard be a name to consider?

Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz need a wing player who can play defense and not tank the team when they shoot three-pointers. There really aren't a lot of guys who are that good who are available, yet. The NBA is an ever-changing beast and there could always be a great player who ends up becoming available unexpectedly, and I would wager a guess that Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers could be on the market come this summer.

To be clear, there's no rumor to support my theory. The Clippers are just not in a great place right now. They're not really a title contender and are just three and a half games out of the Play-In Tournament and shrinking fast. They're 4-6 in their last 10 and they're struggling at the worst time of the year to struggle. Right now they're matching up with the New Orleans Pelicans if the season ends today, but with there being about 9-10 games left, that could easily change.

The team is old and burdened by a lot of egos. and after five years of having Leonard and not making any headway in the playoffs, the team may have to face a tough decision to either blow things up, or invest a lot of money in aging players for one more shot. A shot that likely will end in a first-round exit in future seasons.

At the end of this season, Paul George, James Harden, and Mason Plumlee are all potential free agents. George has a player-option with many thinking he'll opt out of so he could either get a pay raise from the Clippers or head off to a stronger contender. If George leaves, then that may start a domino effect, where the team opts not to re-sign Harden and Plumlee, and guys like Russell Westbrook, Ivica Zubac, Terrence Mann, and other players with an expiring contract in 2025 get traded to start a full-rebuild.

It's not out of the realm of possibility. George will be 34 this offseason, and the aging Clippers roster isn't going to get it done this season or next without some sort of dramatic move. There are many in the know who think George is heading to Philadelphia to play with Joel Embiid and if that happens, Leonard will be in play.

The Clippers have only four picks they can lay any sort of certain on until 2030, and have another four pick-swaps that likely will utterly destroy the Clippers by dropping them in the draft significantly. The idea that Leonard loves LA is real but nearing 33, and on a team that is quickly proving its inability to hang with the top dogs in the West, the idea of trading Leonard, among others, to recoup draft assets and start a full-rebuild isn't unrealistic and should be getting more traction as a potential narrative this offseason.

So, should Leonard be in play, and knowing the Jazz need a small forward and a player of his level to add to the roster, the Utah Jazz should absolutely take a run at him. His contract isn't great, he'll make $50+ million in each of his last three years, and considering his history of injuries, that's not something you want to commit to.

On the flip side, he's returned to form and has largely been healthy for the first time since joining before his last season with the San Antonio Spurs. If he maintains his health and joins a team with better defensive players, he may just return to his old form for at least a season or two. That may be enough to chase a title. Moreover, if you can make a trade happen for three first-rounders and maybe a guy like Taylor Hendricks and John Collins, plus whatever money you need to make it work, why wouldn't you do it?

It's far more likely to pay off for the Jazz then trying to get lucky in a draft.