No one knows when the San Antonio Spurs’ long-running Kawhi Leonard drama will be resolved. It’s been almost a month since his widely reported trade request, and the Spurs still appear no closer to finding a trade.

The Los Angeles Lakers—Leonard’s preferred destination, per Adrian Wojnarowski—haven’t shown much urgency to make a trade involving any of their young prospects in the wake of landing LeBron James in free agency. Other teams with the kinds of pieces the Spurs want have been hesitant to make compelling offers without a commitment that Leonard, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, will stick around long-term.

The only thing that seems certain is that Leonard will be somewhere besides San Antonio by the time camp starts; his relationship with the Spurs appears too far gone for any other outcome. No matter how the Leonard situation resolves itself, there will be widespread ripple effects and consequences for many parties—for the Spurs, for any team that does or doesn’t trade for him, for Leonard himself.

It’s a testament to Gregg Popovich’s brilliance and the Spurs’ infrastructure that they managed to win 47 games and snag a playoff spot in 2017-18 season with Leonard limited to just nine games and no other stars outside of LaMarcus Aldridge. Even assuming they trade Leonard before the start of training camp in September, they can’t be ruled out of the playoff picture next season—unless they trade Aldridge and completely rebuild, which they’ve given no indication is in their plans.

This Leonard saga is the first time in their 20-plus-year run the Spurs have had the kind of drama most teams face on a yearly basis. The retirement of Tim Duncan before the 2016-17 season signaled the end of an era, and while the Spurs have remained competitive in the two seasons since then, it’s hard to shake the notion that the mystique is gone. Read more from…

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