San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: LeBron James on not pushing for Kawhi Leonard trade

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs fight for position during a game on March 27, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photos by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs fight for position during a game on March 27, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photos by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Lakers were once rumored to trade with the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. LeBron James revealed why he did not push for it to happen.

Kawhi Leonard was once rumored to want a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. That never happened, as the San Antonio Spurs sent him and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.

This deal happened after LeBron James, who goes without saying as the prized free agent of 2018, signed with the Lakers. He had a talented supporting cast for runs with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but did not align with a superstar in Los Angeles.

In the televised ESPN interview with Rachel Nichols, James revealed the reasons for not pushing the Lakers to acquire a star like Leonard or Paul George (h/t Yahoo Sports):

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LeBron’s referred-to supporting cast features Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, all players entering their second or third seasons in the NBA and below age 25. They either performed well in 2017-18 or flashed upside to provide greater contributions in Los Angeles. Along with signing Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson, it makes for an interesting set-up.

As for Leonard, he can sign with the Lakers in the 2019 offseason, as a player option looms that can open him to a longer, more lucrative deal than waiting for 2020. Plus, it’s a better situation for this organization than a trade with San Antonio, who would have needed pieces in return from the aforementioned young core.

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Leonard can link up with San Antonio in 11 months. In the meantime, he will play with the Raptors to open the 2018-19 season, while the Spurs eye production out of DeRozan and Poeltl in their first seasons in the Alamo City.

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