5. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks may not have the cap space necessary to bring in a player of Leonard’s stature. What they bring to the table is just about everything else that should make them a viable candidate for impending free agents this summer.
After pairing Rookie of the Year favorite Luka Doncic with All-Star unicorn Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks are set with two foundation pieces who are sure to lead them toward a bright future. What they lack is depth on the wing, where the likes of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith received a lion’s share of the minutes.
With Luka handling the basketball and KP able to shoot from anywhere, Leonard would slide right in as an ideal go-to scoring option and likely closer for Dallas. He proved his ability to get his shot off against anyone in the playoffs and is more than comfortable working in isolation.
Head coach Rick Carlisle is one of the best in the game and is sure to find the ideal spots necessary for Kawhi to go to work. Coupled with an energetic owner in Mark Cuban, who’s willing to open his pockets, and the Mavs have a basketball structure ranked among the best in the league.
Where things get tricky with this potential pairing is on the financial side. After likely re-signing Porzingis, Dallas will have $29.8 million to spend this offseason. That figure falls short of the near $35 million yearly salary the Klaw is likely to command.
The Mavericks can either look to send out some contracts or draw Leonard in with the allure of a state that offers no income tax. While slightly unrealistic, given all the Mavs have built, it wouldn’t be so crazy to see Kawhi opt for the quiet scenery of Dallas on a team with as bright a future as the NBA has today.