The Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of a busy offseason, with rumors flying that have them hoping to trade for Kawhi Leonard as well as possibly sign free agents LeBron James and Paul George.
If they are able to bring in one or more of these established stars it could quickly jump-start their rebuild and vault the Lakers back towards the top of the Western Conference. Reports have suggested they may have more success signing James and/or George if Leonard is already in the fold.
Despite only playing nine games for the San Antonio Spurs this past season season, general manager R.C. Buford is sure to want a lot in return for his star player.
In order to acquire more assets to ship to the Spurs in a deal for Leonard, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post revealed that the Lakers and Denver Nuggets are discussing a trade for a draft pick:
In an attempt to sweeten the pot, multiple sources said the Lakers and Denver Nuggets are discussing a potential deal that would see Los Angeles take back bad money for a draft pick.
The Nuggets plan to give center Nikola Jokic a max contract this summer, which puts them in a tough spot in regards to the luxury tax, so it would make sense that they would be looking to shed salary.
They have several players on one-year deals that they could move, including Kenneth Faried ($13.7 million), Wilson Chandler ($12.8 million), and Darrell Arthur ($7.4 million).
While it would be nice for the Lakers to have an extra draft pick to use in a trade for Leonard, the catch is absorbing a contract will cut into the team’s spending power for the summer and would likely destroy their ability to offer two max contracts in free agency.
If Leonard is the piece that convinces George or James to sign on then having that duo to build around may be all that matter to Los Angeles.
The only thing that’s certain at this point is that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are aggressively looking at all options, and with free agency just days away, we should expect the rumors to continue flying.
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