The San Antonio Spurs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors in five games. While the Spurs did their best against the Warriors, the absence of Kawhi Leonard was evident as they cannot simply match Golden State’s firepower, losing by an average of more than 10 points. Now that they’re out of the running, it will be an interesting offseason for the Spurs as they deal with rumors regarding Leonard, who played just nine games in the regular season due to a lingering quad issue. Rumors are persistent that the Spurs will trade Leonard in the offseason, as their relationship is affected by his ongoing rehabilitation from a quad problem that has hounded him since the preseason.

In nine games, Leonard averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.

After the Spurs sidelined Leonard indefinitely, it was reported that the All-Star became distant from the team’s front office. There’s a lot at stake for Leonard as he can sign a maximum contract extension worth up to $219 million if he remains in San Antonio. However, the reported crack in his relationship with the Spurs could be a hindrance and could force him to take his talent to another team. Earlier, former NBA point guard Nate Robinson declared in his podcast that Leonard will leave the Spurs and join a California-based team as he wants to play closer to his hometown. Miami Heat veteran Dwyane Wade, for his part, predicted that Leonard will join the Boston Celtics while it was reported that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will not ship his superstar to a Western Conference rival.

McCollum speaks about Leonard

Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum also gave his take on the Leonard issue. In an interview in the Pull Up podcast, per Slam Online, McCollum said he believes that Leonard will join a Los Angeles squad, but he did not mention if it’s the Lakers or the Clippers. McCollum added that the Celtics could be in the mix for Leonard.

In the interview, McCollum also emphasized that there’s no way that Leonard will remain with the Spurs. “I think, based on what we’ve seen, there’s a high likelihood that he will no longer be with the franchise in the future,” said McCollum.

Analyst suggests a Leonard-for-Irving swap

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN floated a possibility that the Celtics could trade star Kyrie Irving for Leonard.

According to Smith, the possibility of playing Leonard alongside Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and rising star Terry Rozier could turn the Celtics into an Eastern Conference powerhouse. Also, Smith said the Celtics could consider Irving’s health as he missed at least 20 games in four of his seven seasons. Irving underwent a season-ending surgery on his knee.