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Rumor: Spurs Wanted Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons When Trading Kawhi Leonard

The Philadelphia 76ers inquired about a trade for Kawhi Leonard, but the San Antonio Spurs reportedly and unsurprisingly set an extremely high asking price.

On The Lowe Post, ESPN.com's Zach Lowe denied speculation that the Spurs wanted point guard Markelle Fultz in a Leonard trade. Rather, Lowe said San Antonio preferred Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid, but the 76ers refused to part with either of their two young stars.

When all was said and done, the Spurs wound up trading Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for All-Star DeMar DeRozan, young center Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick.

It certainly wasn't the Spurs were hoping for, but they had no choice but to take the best offer, which ultimately came from Masai Ujiri. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers - both rich in young talent - were seemingly unwilling to deal away core players in a Leonard deal.

RELATED: KAWHI LEONARD EASES RAPTORS WORRIES, BUYS HOME IN TORONTO

Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The 76ers finished with a 52-30 record last season, third best record in the Eastern Conference. Surrounded by a young core of Simmons, Embiid, Fultz and Dario Saric, it's easy to understand why the front office would be hesitant on dealing a young superstar, even if it means getting a guy like Leonard.

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The two-time Defensive Player of the Year is a top-five player when healthy, but he's set to hit the free agent market next year, and Leonard was limited to nine games last season with a quad injury. Perhaps those two red flags scared off the 76ers and other teams, allowing the Raptors to swoop in and make perhaps the biggest trade in their history.

Reports have suggested that Leonard wants to join his hometown L.A. Clippers or Lakers next year, but the Raptors will do everything they can to retain him long-term. In the meantime, the 76ers will try and take the next step in 2018-19 with the likes of Simmons and Embiid.

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NEXT: DANNY GREEN SAYS KAWHI LEONARDS WILL LOVE TORONTO

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