With the NBA free agency period set to kick off in a matter of hours, all eyes will be on the Los Angeles Lakers and whether they can successfully recruit some of the biggest names that hit the open market.
The Lakers have been widely linked to LeBron James and local product Paul George thus far, with the end goal of signing both to maximum salary contracts. On the trade front, Los Angeles has been one of the more aggressive teams in pursuing a deal for San Antonio Spurs two-way superstar Kawhi Leonard.
He’s asked to be traded and reportedly made it clear that the Lakers are his preferred destination. There’s some thinking acquiring Leonard is a key to signing James.
The 26-year-old could ultimately serve as the final piece to a potential Lakers big-three, rivaling the Golden State Warriors’ trio of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
With that in mind, ESPN’s Bobby Marks recently detailed a complex path to how the Lakers can fit George, James and Leonard under the salary cap next season:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 28, 2018
The Lakers front office, headlined by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, has positioned the organization for a historic summer with shrewd salary-clearing trades in recent months.
However, landing all three of George, James and Leonard will be easier said than done. The Cleveland Cavaliers are still hoping to re-sign their hometown superstar despite James reportedly declining an opportunity to meet with them at the start of free agency.
Moreover, a recent report indicated that George is strongly considering returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a multi-year contract after establishing a strong relationship with the organization during the 2017-18 season.
As for Leonard, the Spurs control his destiny and can ultimately decide to hold on to him should they not receive a trade offer to their liking.
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