The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly desperate for Kawhi Leonard, so the San Antonio Spurs have some leverage.
The San Antonio Spurs might become Kawhi Leonard-less soon, as free agency nears and teams must prep for the chaotic events of July 1 and on. However, this could start Friday, when LeBron James makes a decision on his player option for the 2018-19 season.
Pressure is apparently mounting on the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN.com, to acquire Leonard. The hopeful domino effect? To have James sign and form the long-awaited superpower under Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka.
Not so fast, however. In the same ESPN piece, the Spurs were noted to want a combination of Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, with Julius Randle’s potential inclusion and first round picks. The Lakers want to acquire another pick, taking on a bad contract in the process, to help their odds at a Leonard trade.
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That’s quite a haul for Leonard, pending this is how desperate the Lakers have become. There’s a clock on their offseason, as no Leonard or James would change everything about this organization’s immediate outlook. That includes more questions on their ability to attract star players.
The Lakers’ desperation only helps the Spurs, however, who can pry whatever possible to facilitate a trade with the perceived “main” suitor. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011, when the Denver Nuggets took five starting-caliber players, two first-round picks and two second-round picks for Anthony’s desired landing spot. Different circumstances but the 2018 situation could work out in a similar fashion.
So, suddenly, San Antonio has leverage. Los Angeles wants its superteam and needs help from a rival to make it happen. Everything comes with a price, though, and could mean mortgaging the future that was built through the draft, no matter how much the front office wants. It’s an interesting subplot to this storyline and should develop within the next 48-72 hours.