After five years of rebuilding, the Los Angeles Lakers may be on the verge of returning to prominence after getting LeBron James to agree to a four-year, $154 million contract. His deal doesn’t include a no-trade clause but an opt-out after the third year.
Despite Paul George not filling in as the team’s second max-contract slot due to his decision to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers have options with James committing to a long-term deal. One of these options may be Kawhi Leonard, who wants to play in his hometown.
Although Los Angeles and the San Antonio Spurs have had trade discussions, general manager R.C. Buford and company are taking their time.
With James joining the Lakers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN provided an update on Leonard’s thought process moving forward:
Sources: As trade talks have unfolded, Kawhi Leonard’s focus is unchanged: He wants to be a Laker. https://t.co/0wZGf5MrNt
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
During the team’s rebuilding, the thought process was all it took was one All-Star player to sign with Los Angeles. Although the Lakers struck out in free agency, they established a competitive young core and won at least 30 games for the first time since the 2012-13 NBA season.
With the on-court product slowly catching up to the off-the-court opportunities, the Lakers are officially an attractive destination once again. But with an agreement to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, they might be more likely to upgrade the roster via trade.
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