NBA Free Agency Rumors: Lakers ‘Operating As If They Think They Have A Strong Shot’ At Kawhi Leonard
LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Lakers,
Frank Gunn-The Canadian Press via AP

As the landscape of the NBA is changing for the first time in five seasons, the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis just two days following the 2019 NBA Finals.

Through the drama-filled start to the offseason, general manager Rob Pelinka and the Lakers eventually landed their second All-Star player alongside LeBron James via trade.

While free agency is approaching on June 30, much of the attention has been on completing the Davis trade on July 6. Depending on the situation, Los Angeles will have between $23.7-$32.5 million in cap space to pursue free agents.

If the Lakers still have a max-contract slot available, they reportedly ‘think they have a strong shot’ at signing Kawhi Leonard, according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

While the odds-on favorites are the Clippers—fulfilling Leonard’s supposed interest in playing where he grew up—one Eastern Conference vice president says the Raptors still have a “fighting chance” to re-sign him, while a Western Conference VP says the Lakers are operating as if “they think they have a strong shot” at adding Leonard after acquiring New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis to play alongside their incumbent star, LeBron James, in a deal that can’t be officially consummated until next month.

Although Leonard is set to decline his $21.3 million player option for the 2019-20 NBA season, he reportedly is ‘seriously considering’ re-signing with the Toronto Raptors:

Leonard, 27, is believed to be seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors, sources said.

While there have been conflicting reports about Leonard’s future with the Raptors, the reality is no one really knows what the 27-year-old will do heading into June 30.

After leading the Raptors to their first championship, it would make sense for Leonard to re-sign on a short-term deal as their core is under contract for at least the 2019-20 NBA season. However, he is still tied to Los Angeles.

If Leonard does want to sign with the Lakers, Pelinka will need to expand on the Davis trade and include Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones. While there could be some roadblocks, it is still a possibility.

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