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Report: Riley unwilling to trade for Kawhi Leonard without long-term commitment

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Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

NBA: Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s East is wide open after LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career. In fact, with DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Golden State Warriors, it looks increasingly likely that the Warriors will continue to dominate the West, if not the entire NBA.

Now would seem as good a time as any for Pat Riley to trade for a superstar and see if the Heat could challenge the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers for the conference championship next year. The Oklahoma City Thunder gambled on a trade for Paul George a year ago, and George agreed to a long-term deal with Oklahoma City.

It appears that Pat Riley won’t make a similar gamble on Kawhi Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.

The Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro said that is “unwilling to trade a king’s ransom for a player entering the final season of his contract” who will not commit to remain with the Heat long-term. Riley did make this gamble in 2015 when he traded for Goran Dragic at the trade deadline and signed him to a long-term contract that summer.

Of course, Kawhi Leonard would prefer to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Besides, the Spurs would probably be much happier with a potential trade package from the Lakers than one from the Heat.

A good off-season in Riley’s mind might consist of re-signing Ellington and Wade, and continuing to develop their young talent. And if another superstar becomes available, make the move.