It’s a poorly-kept secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have their eye ons signing superstar free agents this summer. They will have more salary cap room available than any team in the league, which presumably will be use to target the likes LeBron James and Paul George.
However, another interesting name has popped on the radar recently in San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. He has been in an uncomfortable situation with the organization as he rehabbed a quad injury by working with his own doctors away from the team.
Despite what has been a strange situation, a recent report from Ken Berger of Bleacher Report suggests that the Spurs are still resisting teams that are inquiring about a potential trade for Leonard:
Nonetheless, another Western Conference executive said teams are “lining up to try to do something” in the event the Spurs decide to trade Leonard this summer. Through back channels, those teams have gotten the brush-off from the Spurs.
“The Spurs want to try to make things work right now and aren’t interested,” the exec said.
The Lakers, meanwhile, find themselves in a somewhat familiar situation in the Leonard chase. He is rumored to be interested in going to Los Angeles and has Southern California roots. And with free agency coming for him in the summer of 2019, Leonard could attempt to force a trade to his preferred destination by refusing to re-sign with anyone else.
This is essentially the same scenario the Lakers found themselves in last summer with Paul George, who attempted to force a trade to the Lakers but ultimately wound up being sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As exciting as it would be to see Leonard join the Lakers this summer, they may actually be better off waiting until he is a free agent, which would allow them to sign him without having to part with assets.
Even so, if the opportunity to land a true star like Leonard via trade presents itself, the Lakers may simply find that too enticing to turn down. That said, before that’s even a possibility, the Spurs would have to decide that the situation with Leonard is beyond repair, and that doesn’t appear to be the case at this point.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB