Lakers Rumors: Kawhi Leonard Trade ‘Would Likely Clinch Free Agent Commitment’ From LeBron James
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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 NBA season.

As the San Antonio Spurs recently ‘shut the door’ on the team’s initial conversation, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have reportedly reached out again in hopes of a better result.

Although the Lakers have established a two-year window to make their mark in free agency, there is a lot at stake this summer as they look to end the rebuilding process.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, trading for Leonard would have a significant impact on James’ free agency decision:

The stakes on these talks are enormous, because a deal for Leonard would likely clinch a free agent commitment out of LeBron James. James has until late Friday night to opt-out of the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and is watching closely how the Lakers proceed with the Leonard talks.

While James and Leonard teaming up would make the Lakers instant championship contenders, the Spurs are reportedly asking for a significant return. Excluding Lonzo Ball, San Antonio is potentially seeking the entire young core and future first round draft picks.

For the Lakers, it will be interesting to see what ultimately happens. With an opportunity to land two or even three All-Star players including Paul George, there are risks involved and it likely will all start or end with Leonard.

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