The San Antonio Spurs hardly blinked in the aftermath of Kawhi Leonard requesting a trade because of a fractured relationship between the two. Head coach Gregg Popovcih met with Leonard, who reportedly remained steadfast in his desire to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford explained the organization’s focus was on repairing the relationship with the 26-year-old. In the meantime, San Antonio reportedly was open to fielding trade offers from teams but weren’t actively shopping Leonard.
But in the Lakers’ case, the Spurs are said to have immediately rebuffed their initial effort to engage in trade talks for Leonard. There have since been conflicting reports on whether San Antonio would be willing to deal with Los Angeles.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers have again approached the Spurs about a potential trade for the two-time All-Star:
Update from this morning’s story. The Lakers re-engaged the Spurs Wednesday in aggressively pursuing Kawhi Leonard. Story w/ @wojespn coming shortly on ESPN. This is the first contact between the teams since the Spurs “shut the door” on them after an initial call.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 28, 2018
Per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, the discussions went much better than the first time around:
Can confirm @ramonashelburne's report that the Lakers and Spurs re-engaged today about Kawhi Leonard. Was told by a source it was a "productive" call.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) June 28, 2018
With free agency on the horizon, the Lakers reportedly are feeling increased pressure to complete a trade for Leonard in order to lure LeBron James. Although there may be motivation to act quickly, the Spurs don’t face such a scenario.
If they already were hesitant to trade with the Lakers, that sentiment would only further be validated if it meant also assisting their efforts to sign James. A perfect scenario for the Lakers would appear to be signing James and Paul George and trading for Leonard.
However, George may no longer be the lock to return to Southern California that he once was considered. Meanwhile, it’s now Leonard who reportedly has informed teams that he plans to sign with the Lakers or Clippers as a 2019 free agent.
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