NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers ‘Know’ They Can Sign Kawhi Leonard In 2019 Free Agency
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs, Lakers
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Two days before the 2017-18 NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly ‘recalibrating’ for 2019 free agency which features Kawhi Leonard.

However, they ended up taking a major step in creating the necessary cap space to sign two max-contract players this summer by trading for Isaiah Thomas’ and Channing Frye’s expiring contracts along with the No. 25 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With Leonard’s uncertain future with the San Antonio Spurs, one Western Conference executive believes there was a major reason behind the initial report about the Lakers shifting their focus to next year, according to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:

It’s commonly heard on the front office grapevine that Leonard is eyeing the Lakers as a free agent in 2019. One of the Western Conference executives noted it’s no accident that the Lakers reportedly have shifted their free-agent plans to focus on the ’19 class (which Leonard may headline), according to Shelburne and ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, as opposed to a quick fix this summer.

“That’s why [the Lakers] are spinning it into ‘wait till next year,'” the executive said. “They know they can get Kawhi.”

After years of rebuilding through the draft, Los Angeles is now considered a legitimate destination for upcoming free agents. While it is no secret the Lakers want to sign LeBron James and Paul George this year, they have created options for themselves in the short- and long-term.

If James and/or George ultimately do not sign with the Lakers, they can re-sign Julius Randle and again add some quality players on one-year contracts to maintain cap space flexibility. Along with Leonard, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler are set to become unrestricted 2019 free agents.

You May Also Like

Andre Drummond Rumors: Lakers & Nets Viewed As Top Suitors If Bought Out

The 2021 trade deadline is fast approaching, and with it comes buyout season, where players who were unable…

Lakers Rumors: Mac McClung To Sign Two-Way Contract

With the Los Angeles Lakers 2021-22 effectively over, the team has looked to feed minutes to the younger players…

Lakers Rumors: ‘A Lot Of People In The NBA’ Think Kawhi Leonard Will Not Re-Sign With Raptors

As Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors are competing in the 2019 NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing…

Lakers Rumors: Team Looking To Pursue Greg Monroe This Offseason?

[new_royalslider id=”155″] The Lakers have a large chunk of cap space this…