The Lakers are expected to trade for the disgruntled Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and they may have a shot at landing Paul George in free agency as well. At the center of all the free agency chatter is the situation revolving around Kawhi Leonard, are the San Antonio Spurs, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Several such players told our own Alex Kennedy that they would be interested in taking a minimum deal with Los Angeles.
Wednesday morning it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne, and Brian Windhorst that there was pressure building on the Lakers to make a deal to acquire Kawhi, as the trade could affect the decisions of a guy named LeBron James. Trading Leonard to Boston would mean moving him out of the Western Conference, which would be ideal for the Spurs.
As for James, the 33-year-old looks increasingly likely to not exercise his player option and become an unrestricted free agent next month. Leonard, a Southern California native, has a year left on his Spurs contract but has been at odds with the organization and is widely believed to be trying to engineer his defection to the Lakers.
"San Antonio has informed teams its preferred target in any Leonard trade is the Celtics' Jayson Tatum, sources say", Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer reported on Thursday.
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This report basically confirms that if the Lakers don't get Kawhi, they don't get LeBron. They have established stars in Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward.
As the chatter about James' grew to a fever pitch this week, the four-time NBA MVP and three-time league champion retreated to the Caribbean island of Anguilla for a family vacation.
The Lakers are pursuing an additional first-round pick on the trade market too, offering to incur a salary dump of contracts to get a pick, league sources said.
The Lakers are hoping to return to their glory days by building a potential super team via one of the strongest free agent offerings in years.
The Lakers played the long game with George and it ultimately came back to work against them.