ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne reported early Wednesday that Los Angeles is making a push to trade for Leonard before Friday, when LeBron James has to decide whether to accept his $35.6 million player option or become a free agent. Perhaps San Antonio won't get a better offer than one made by the Lakers, considering Leonard appears hellbent on signing a long-term contract with one of the Los Angeles teams next summer.
According to a report from ESPN, James is "hesitant" to be the first superstar player the Lakers acquire this offseason, whether that's via trade or free agency. In a report by ESPN, it was even stated that Kawhi has literally no intentions of stepping foot in the Spurs locker room again. But it's contingent on the Spurs, and San Antonio has rebuffed the Lakers' inquiries. On the other hand, the Lakers are apparently feeling pressure to find a way to lure James or George (or both) to Los Angeles. The team did not make a hard push to trade for him a year ago because of that thought, which could now backfire in more ways than one.
That doesn't mean it's impossible for the two sides to agree on a deal.
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Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs dribbles past Julius Randle #30 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles. The price for Leonard would have to include some combination of Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and more.
Following the conclusion of the NBA Draft last week, Cleveland general manager Koby Altman said the Cavs have had "good dialogue" with James' management team.
The possibility of the Spurs looking at an Aldridge trade to follow a Kawhi deal was first raised on Bill Simmons' podcast this week, with guest Kevin O'Connor. The agent reasoned that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich only wants to compete for championships, and keeping Leonard helps him accomplish that, regardless of Leonard's wishes.
We know the Celtics made San Antonio an offer in February at the deadline.