James has until Friday to opt out of his contract with the Cavs but is expected to become the most coveted player on the market when free agency opens Sunday at midnight ET. Maybe James doesn't come, and the Lakers have to settle for Plan B. And what if Leonard becomes smitten with wherever he's traded and decides to re-sign there next season?
George expressing his fondness for the Purple and Gold resulted to Lakers General Manager Magic Johnson to shy away from offering IN valuable assets, confident they can snag the star IN free-agency.
After LeBron James reportedly reached out to Kevin Durant about the prospect of playing together, James had another National Basketball Association star contact him about teaming up: Kawhi Leonard. Obviously LA would rather have James opt out, which would allow them to sign James.
Leonard made it known that he wants out of San Antonio and would prefer to play with the Lakers.
The problem for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka appears to be that the Spurs are uninterested in some of the current assets the Lakers have to offer.
No Ball in the Spurs family.
Smith's report had a lot of people skeptical, as James reaching out to Durant about teaming up isn't something he would do and not something that would be put out there easily. Adding that dynamic duo would give the Lakers more leverage in trade talks for Kawhi Leonard, who wants out of San Antonio.
Rumors about his next move are abounding, with many suggesting he's plotting a move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Can you really blame the Spurs if this is the case? Kevin Durant, look what he did for us past year. If he goes out East, the Spurs will only see him twice. And, from a basketball perspective, the Spurs are already in a position to move on from Tony Parker at the guard spot.
Any other team could only offer George the maximum over a four-year period, meaning he could risk losing out on $46m in guaranteed cash later down the line.
The takeaway here I think is twofold.
The Lakers clearly believe, if they trade for Kawhi Leonard, they can parlay that into signing LeBron James. It also seems to be a given that a first-round pick will be going over to the Spurs for Kawhi.