While teams are making final preparations for the start of free agency, some, including the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are involved with the San Antonio Spurs on a potential Kawhi Leonard trade.
The disgruntled All-Star is coming off a season in which he only played nine games because of a quadriceps injury that’s been the undoing to the player-organization relationship. Leonard reportedly is upset with Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich alike for comments made about his injury.
At the time of requesting a trade from the Spurs, Leonard reportedly let it be known his preference was to join the Lakers. San Antonio rebuffed their initial efforts to enter into trade talks, but were said to be more receptive on Wednesday.
That could in part be related to the Spurs reaching a point where they are prepared to trade Leonard, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times:
This doesn't guarantee Kawhi Leonard is going to the Lakers this week — since San Antonio could always trade him elsewhere and/or drag things out — but league sources say of the Spurs: "They're ready" to move on from Kawhi
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2018
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics and Lakers are among the teams involved in trade talks for Leonard:
The Spurs are fully engaged in trade talks with several teams on Kawhi Leonard, including the Lakers and Celtics, league sources tell ESPN. Boston has long had the assets that the Spurs most covet in a potential Leonard trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2018
Although Leonard is one of the top talents in the league, his injury and only having one year remaining on his contract could impact what the Spurs are able to fetch in a trade.
Additionally, Leonard may have removed more of San Antonio’s leverage by informing teams interested in trading for him that he would likely sign with the Lakers as a 2019 free agent. Of course, that strategy didn’t particularly work for Paul George, and now he may very well re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For the Lakers, there’s a belief that trading for Leonard would lead to LeBron James signing in free agency.
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