While the commitments of other top free agents Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler were made public before free agency officially began on Sunday night, Leonard will mull his options a little longer. The two Los Angeles teams and the Raptors are the contenders for his services.
“I’m told he is going to continue to take his time. … the teams who are involved are expecting that this could go even late into the week,” Wojnarowski said.
Leonard deliberation has already impacted the Lakers, who are looking to make a championship run next season. They’re interested in some lower-level free agents but have to await Leonard’s decision. Wojnarowski cited Seth Curry, who agreed to a contract with the Mavericks, as a player the Lakers were interested in signing.
“They’re going to keep losing guys off the board,” Wojnarowski said.
Leonard has spoken to Magic Johnson several times about the Lakers, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner, and there has also been a conversation with GM Rob Pelinka. Johnson can’t officially meet with Leonard on behalf of the organization after resigning his post as president of basketball operations but he’s free to speak in an unofficial capacity.
Turner told Spectrum Sportsnet that Leonard asked Johnson if the Lakers had make an attempt to trade for him prior to the Spurs’ deal with the Raptors (hat tip to SilverScreenAndRoll.com)
“There was one interesting question (Leonard) had for Magic: ‘Did you guys try to trade for me when I was in San Antonio?’ And the answer was ‘yes, but because it was Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and our history, they were asking for 2,000 draft picks — well, not 2,000 — like four draft picks, first-round draft picks, and we just couldn’t do that.’ And that was one of his questions.”
Johnson told Leonard and his uncle, who participated in the conversations, that the disharmony within the front office is a thing of the past. Johnson also emphasized the storied history of the franchise, according to Turner.
“It’s about all those great players. You can be another one, you can join LeBron James and you can win more titles, and you don’t have to put as much stress on your body to do that. We have two stars to work with you,’” Johnson said.
Leonard also asked if he might be allowed to bring in his own trainer.