The Los Angeles Lakers have found themselves in the middle of a number of rumors this offseason, but perhaps the more intriguing one involves San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.
With tensions between Leonard and the Spurs reaching irreconcilable levels, the belief is that a trade back home to Los Angeles would be a welcome change for the former Finals MVP. Meanwhile, as speculation was fly regarding Leonard, the Lakers were able to land LeBron James in free agency.
While the ultimate goal may be to pair James and Leonard on the same team, for now, it appears that James’ arrival has allowed the Lakers to be patient in their pursuit of Leonard.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast, the Lakers don’t appear to feel a sense of urgency in trading for Leonard:
“To this point in trade discussions, the Lakers have not shown a sense of urgency to make a Kawhi Leonard trade.”
Of course, the Spurs are holding out in the hope that they can extract as many assets as possible from whichever team they trade Leonard to. It would make sense for the Lakers not to appear too urgent to get a deal done otherwise they sacrifice leverage in the negotiation.
It’s a fascinating standoff, with Leonard reportedly telling non-Los Angeles teams that he won’t re-sign when he hits free agency in 2019, which lowers his trade value.
The Spurs, naturally, want top dollar for their star, and the Lakers have to weigh the benefit of sacrificing assets in order to acquire Leonard now versus the risk of waiting to sign him as a free agent in 2019.
At some point, the conflict will be resolved, and when that happens, Leonard presumably will find himself playing for a new team.
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