- The Los Angeles Lakers are said to be making a push to land Kawhi Leonard in a trade, apparently believing that doing so could help them get LeBron James in free agency.
- ESPN says the Lakers are in a hurry to get the trade done before James hits free agency while the Spurs seem content to wait.
- The Lakers could end up offering a huge package to the Spurs if they become desperate to land Leonard.
The key to getting LeBron James may now be Kawhi Leonard, and the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be going for it.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Adrian Wojnarowski, and Brian Windhorst, the Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs have reengaged in trade talks centered on Leonard.
According to ESPN, the Lakers believe landing Leonard may be the key to getting James in free agency. James is reportedly hesitant to be the first star to go to Los Angeles, and recent reports indicated players like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George and the Houston Rockets’ Chris Paul might re-sign with their teams.
On Wednesday, ESPN reported there was mounting pressure on the Lakers to land Leonard, believing that doing so could help them get James. The Spurs, however, had apparently not been open to trade talks with the Lakers and in general seemed content to let teams call in with offers as they decided what to do.
ESPN now reports that the Spurs are hoping to get a package for Leonard that’s greater than what the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers got for Kyrie Irving and George last summer.
For the Lakers, that could mean trading much of their young core, robbing them of the depth they’d need to put a viable team around Leonard and James. And they could carry out such a deal only to have James choose another team.
Yahoos’ Chris Mannix reported that the Spurs don’t seem to be in any rush to trade Leonard, while the Lakers would like to get a trade done before Sunday, when James becomes a free agent. There’s a chance the race gets pushed forward quickly in the coming days if the Lakers become desperate and offer a treasure trove to the Spurs.
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