When LeBron James signed a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, one of his roles was recruiting a second All-Star player to join him.
As James reportedly was already recruiting Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler back in May, the Lakers eventually traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Although the Lakers have accomplished their goal, there is an opportunity to sign a third All-Star player after they successfully re-established their max-contract slot.
And according to a source close to James, it’s this focus on being an incredible teammate that will be at the center of his message to Leonard.
James could also address some potential concerns Leonard may have about teaming up, according to Amick:
He’ll make it clear that he’s truly willing to tailor his talents around theirs. He might dispel this notion that all the recent Lakers nonsense is their never-ending norm. He’ll candidly discuss the truth about the point he has reached in his legendary career, how his age and all those meaningful miles mean that Leonard and Davis could have the keys to this Lakers kingdom long after his playing days are done.
When Leonard requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, his preferred destination was the Lakers — even after James signed. However, the narrative changed to the Los Angeles Clippers throughout the 2018-19 NBA season.
Unlike his peers, Leonard and his camp have stayed quiet and it is unclear what his decision will be, especially after the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA Finals.
With Leonard leading the Raptors to their first championship in team history, there are debates on if this gives him a reason to re-sign or if it gives him a reason to leave.
As for the Lakers, they do give Leonard the best opportunity to contend for at least the next 2-3 seasons. While he and Kevin Durant reportedly are discussing playing together, he will miss the 2019-20 season due to an Achilles injury.
With uncertainty surrounding Durant and the Golden State Warriors, Leonard’s decision will change the landscape of the NBA for the first time in five seasons. If the Lakers have arguably three of the top five players in the league, it would certainly be something considering all the drama and criticism that surrounded them to begin the offseason.