Following a report about Kawhi Leonard not wanting to return to the San Antonio Spurs for the 2018-19 NBA season, the offseason has kicked into high gear. As the Los Angeles Lakers are Leonard’s preferred destination, one intriguing scenario involves him, LeBron James and Paul George teaming up.
With the Lakers having necessary salary cap space to sign both James and George in free agency, they have previously are said to have informed teams no player is considered untouchable. As a result, the Lakers can put together an attractive trade offer for Leonard.
However, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, the Spurs are not interested in Lonzo Ball if they ultimately decide to trade the two-time All-Star to the Lakers:
And wouldn’t you know, there are the Lakers, semi-functional for the first time in years, with the assets to piece together an interesting trade package. San Antonio has zero interest in Lonzo Ball — or, more accurately, the circus that Ball brings with him — but a Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, draft-pick(s) deal (with Luol Deng tossed in to make the money work) is compelling, particularly if other teams, wary of Leonard walking in 2019, don’t go all-in with offers.
For the Spurs, they are in unfamiliar territory as the NBA’s model franchise. While it appeared Leonard had an opportunity to play his entire career for one franchise, a right quadriceps injury that forced him to miss all but nine games created tension and the relationship is deemed irreparable.
As for the Lakers, they are in a good position after rebuilding through the NBA Draft. Although they have struck out in free agency in recent years, Leonard now joins George as players who want to play in Los Angeles.
While it would be difficult to part with the team’s young core, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are looking to end their playoff drought and become a perennial championship contender once again.
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