Lakers Rumors: Kawhi Leonard Expressed To LeBron James He’d Like To Be Teammates
LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The big story surrounding NBA free agency as it’s set to begin is the Los Angeles Lakers’ quest to assemble a big three of Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Paul George. While George and James can be signed in free agency, the Lakers are actively discussing a possible trade for Leonard with the San Antonio Spurs.

The belief among some is that acquiring Leonard would basically guarantee that James would join the Lakers. George has long been rumored to prefer coming to his hometown, but that sentiment has changed in some regard recently.

With George seriously considering re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers’ best chances at ending their rebuild and becoming a contender might best lie with signing James and trading for Leonard.

One report suggested the Lakers’ acquiring Leonard would all but guarantee James signs with the team, but that has since been refuted.

On ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith reported that the attention and spotlight that James brings is something that may not appeal to Kawhi, but adds that the likely source has their own intentions:

“Kawhi Leonard, according to some folks out there, may not want to play with LeBron in L.A. Has nothing to do with LeBron, the person. Has nothing to do with LeBron, the man. There’s no friction that exists or anything like that. Kawhi is perceived to be a guy that’s low key, doesn’t want the attention, doesn’t want the spotlight that LeBron would bring. This is according to folks in Los Angeles. Now, here’s the issue. You know that’s got to be coming from the Clippers, because the Clippers are making moves to clear space so next summer they can make a run. And they believe they’ve got a shot at Kawhi Leonard.”

Nonetheless, Leonard reportedly contacted James to express interest in becoming teammates, according to Jordan Schultz of Cleveland.com:

Although the natural inclination is to assume Leonard and James would most likely be Lakers teammates, they could join forces on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James has until Friday night to decide on his player option for the 2018-19 season, and could either opt in or reach free agency but re-sign with the Cavs. Then, the team could, in theory, work to assemble a trade package for Leonard.

That might prove difficult for Cleveland, however, when taking into account what the Spurs reportedly hope to receive in exchange for their disgruntled forward. From the Lakers, they reportedly would want a return centered around Brandon Ingram and including Kyle Kuzma.

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