The Lakers re-engaged the Spurs Wednesday in trade talks for Kawhi Leonard, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets. It’s the first time the teams have discussed a Leonard deal since the Spurs “shut the door” on them after an initial call, Shelburne adds.
The Lakers reportedly feel pressure to make a deal before LeBron James makes his free agent decision, with the belief James would opt out of his contract and commit to the Lakers in free agency if he could join forces with Leonard. With Paul George no longer viewed as a lock to choose the Lakers, Leonard may represent the Lakers’ best bet to acquire another star.
If a deal goes down soon, the Lakers will have to put together an overwhelming offer. According to an ESPN story from Shelburne, Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, a massive package of young players and draft picks would have to go back to San Antonio. The package could include some combination of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, perhaps along with restricted free agent Julius Randle in a sign-and-trade scenario, as well as future first-round picks, the story speculates. The Lakers are trying to acquire another first-round pick in a separate deal through a willingness to take on one or more bad contracts, the story adds.
The Spurs are not showing any urgency to make a trade, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweets. San Antonio didn’t view the draft as a deadline, so it’s unlikely they’ll view free agency as a deadline, Mannix adds.
The Celtics, Cavaliers, Sixers, and Clippers are among the teams that have made offers for Leonard, and multiple teams in that group figure to be in the mix for James as well.