With free agency approaching on July 1, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly attempting to trade for Kawhi Leonard before LeBron James makes a decision on his player option for the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season.
Leonard has been adamant that he doesn't want to step into the San Antonio locker room again, and the Spurs have been adamant that they won't be forced into a trade, or a timetable, prior to the February trading deadline, league sources said.
LeBron James, right, might be hoping to have Kawhi Leonard on his side this season.
The Lakers are viewed as one of the favorites to land James should he elect free agency. For weeks, the Sixers have been discussed as a potential landing spot for Leonard in a trade, especially after acquiring a future first-round pick in 2021 during the draft, with the Spurs, and according to a recent report, an offer may have already been made.
And the Lakers are desperate to ensure George, who is expected to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer after just one year with the team, heads their way.
It's been reported before that Los Angeles is Leonard's preferred trade destination - with the Lakers being the favoured landing spot over the Clippers - so it makes sense that Lakers president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka would be in hot pursuit of Leonard. That's not how Gregg Popovich rolls.
The race for Leonard is on, and if the Spurs play their hand wisely, an ugly situation could end up with them bringing in a haul of assets to jumpstart a rebuild. That could play into the patient strategy Johnson is professing, but the Lakers may have to push their chips to the center of the table much sooner than they might prefer, if they want to make James's Friday decision that much easier.