Lakers Rumors

Spurs Listening To Leonard Offers

2:49pm: The Lakers have reached out to the Spurs about dealing for Leonard, but no specifics have been discussed, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. The contact came within the past week, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, with a Lakers’ source saying, “they basically shut the door on us.” (Twitter link)

JUNE 21, 1:20pm: The Spurs are willing to listen to offers on Kawhi Leonard but haven’t spoken with the Lakers, Leonard’s preferred landing spot, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

San Antonio has not been making calls about Leonard but it will field offers and add them to the list of proposals, Wojnarowski adds. This suggests that the Spurs’ front office is losing hope of resolving the impasse between the club and its star forward.

With Leonard still under contract, San Antonio isn’t in any hurry to make a trade. Unless there’s a dramatic and overwhelming proposal, it’s not going to happen on draft night.

Leonard met with head coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday in San Diego but that didn’t alter his request to be traded. Leonard’s desire to be dealt over the way the franchise handled his quad injury last season, and comments make by Popovich and guard Tony Parker about his ability to play, was revealed last week.

Leonard can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Teams Lining Up For No. 3 Pick If Kings Pass On Doncic

The Mavericks, Magic, Bulls, Knicks, and Clippers have expressed interest in moving into the Hawks’ No. 3 slot to select either EuroLeague guard Luka Doncic or possibly Texas center Mohamed Bamba if the Kings pass on Doncic at No. 2, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Those teams, along with the Nuggets, have also talked to the Grizzlies at the No. 4 spot. The Celtics don’t appear to be a serious contender for either pick, O’Connor adds.

Here’s some other tidbits from O’Connor’s story:

  • The Hornets’ willingness to deal Kemba Walker has waned since they reached an agreement with the Nets to trade Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov. The Cavaliers have shown interest in solving their point guard dilemma by acquiring Walker.
  • The Clippers could select Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker with one of their first-rounders and then ship him to the Hawks. The Clippers have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks in the lottery.
  • The Bucks are trying to package the No. 17 pick with point guard Matthew Dellavedova‘s contract. Dellavedova has two years and $19.2MM remaining on his deal. Milwaukee would trade down in the draft in that scenario and not exit altogether.
  • The Timberwolves have a strong interest in Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo with the No. 20 pick.
  • There are rumblings that the Bulls made a promise to draft Boise State shooting guard Chandler Hutchison. That would have to be at No. 22 unless they make a deal.
  • The Trail Blazers and Lakers are interested in IMG Academy shooting guard Anfernee Simons with their late first-round picks.
  • Kentucky small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs, and Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham are believed to have received draft promises.

Lakers Front Office Wary Of Tampering Possibility

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN is reporting that the Lakers, who have been fined for tampering twice in the past calendar year (links here), recently called an organizational meeting warning all employees about possible tampering ahead of the upcoming free agent signing period.

The Lakers, who are expected to play a key role during free agency this summer, also sent written notices to employees that referenced possible termination as punishment for anyone who does not adhere to NBA rules.

Per Shelburne, Lakers’ co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss called the meeting, which was led by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson who, somewhat ironically, was involved in both of the team’s prior tampering violations.

As our Hoops Rumors Glossary shows, the July Moratorium doesn’t allow free agent deals to become official until July 6. However, free agents are still permitted to negotiate with teams and agree to terms on new contracts during the moratorium. As such, the Lakers, as with the other 29 NBA franchises, aren’t allowed to begin negotiating with free agents until midnight on July 1.

Lakers To Acquire 2018 Second-Round Pick From Sixers

The Lakers will acquire the No. 39 selection in tomorrow night’s draft from the Sixers, league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Lakers will send the Bulls‘ 2019 second-round pick and cash to the Sixers in return.

The 39th pick, originally owned by the Knicks, was acquired by the Sixers back in 2014 when the Knicks traded it and forward Travis Outlaw to the Sixers in exchange for forward Arnett Moultrie.

As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer opines, the Lakers could potentially package the No. 25 and No. 39 pick to move up in the draft, but it remains to be seen whether they’d be able to find a team with whom to trade.

Another possibility, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN, is selecting Mitchell Robinson, a long-projected target for the Lakers whose poor pre-draft process likely pushed him into the second round.

Finally, as noted by both Eric Pincus and Bobby Marks, this trade, as reported, can’t become official until the new salary cap year begins since the Sixers have already received the allotted $5.1MM in cash this season. As such, the Sixers will essentially be selecting a player for the Lakers tomorrow night.

Kawhi Leonard, Popovich Meet In San Diego

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard met with head coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday in San Diego, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports.

The meeting was conducted professionally and confidentially, according to Charania, but there’s no indication that Leonard has softened his stance on being traded. Leonard’s desire to be moved, with Los Angeles being his preferred destination, was revealed last week.

Today’s meeting had been scheduled for weeks and was not a response to Leonard’s trade request, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

There has been steady communication between the Spurs’ front office and Leonard’s representatives, Charania adds. If Leonard is willing to stay put and sign a max extension with the Spurs, that could alter plans for several teams who have been angling to put together a package deal for him.

However, according to Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com, Leonard has privately maintained that he no longer wants to play for the Spurs, and intends to eventually let suitors know that his intention is to sign in L.A. – preferably with the Lakers – when he reaches free agency in 2019.

The Spurs likely won’t be eager to facilitate a trade to the Lakers for Leonard, who remains upset over the team’s handling of his quad injury, as well as public comments from Popovich and teammate Tony Parker about the situation, per Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

While San Antonio has encouraged teams calling about Leonard to make offers if they so choose, the club has been “largely reluctant” to provide guidance on what sort of package it’s seeking, league sources tell the ESPN duo. The Spurs’ top priority continues to be talking with Leonard and his camp to work through the issues, according to Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Did Lakers Make Promise To Kevin Huerter?

  • Jeremy Woo of SI.com has a new mock draft of his own up today, and it’s filled with intriguing tidbits. Among them: Maryland’s Kevin Huerter shut down his workouts weeks ago, and league sources tell Woo that the Lakers are the team that gave him a promise at No. 25. Whether or not that’s true, Woo doesn’t think Huerter will be available that late in the first round.

Lakers Worked Out Anfernee Simons Twice

  • Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy), Dzanan Musa (Cedevita), Thomas Welsh (UCLA), Brandon McCoy (UNLV), Jaylen Barford (Arkansas), and Jacobi Boykins (Louisiana Tech) auditioned for the Trail Blazers on Tuesday (Twitter link via Casey Holdahl). It was Simons’ second workout for the Blazers, who passed on a workout with the Grizzlies to visit Portland again (Twitter link via Chris Herrington). Simons also worked out twice for the Lakers and Magic, tweets Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest.

Kyler’s Latest: Bamba, Kings, Magic, Mavs, Grizzlies

Mohamed Bamba may be a candidate to slip a little further than expected in the 2018 NBA draft, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his latest round-up of draft rumors. According to Kyler, Bamba is “in the mix” for a handful of clubs in the top seven, but it’s not clear if any of those teams view him as their first or second option.

As Kyler explains, Bamba is widely expected to be a strong defender at the NBA level, but there are questions about his offensive potential. Since many of the other big men at the top of the draft are considered more well-rounded prospects, they may come off the board before Bamba, creating some uncertainty about the Longhorn’s potential landing spot.

Here’s more from Kyler’s article, which is worth checking out in full:

  • The Kings appear likely to keep their pick at No. 2, but Kyler’s sources remain skeptical that the club will draft Luka Doncic in that spot. While Sacramento has taken a “long look” at Michael Porter Jr., it’s looking more and more as if the club will opt for the less risky option, Marvin Bagley III, Kyler writes.
  • If there are no surprises in the top five picks, there’s a very real chance that Collin Sexton will be the Magic‘s man at No. 6, per Kyler. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has also suggested that Orlando is high on the Alabama point guard.
  • League sources tell Kyler that the Mavericks don’t intend to move the No. 5 pick unless they can land an All-Star or would-be All-Star.
  • While it remains to be seen if the Grizzlies will make a trade involving the No. 4 selection and Chandler Parsons, they’ve received some offers that include lower picks and expiring contracts, according to Kyler, who says the club should have options it if wants to pull the trigger on a deal.
  • The Lakers and Celtics have expressed some interest during the pre-draft process in moving up significantly in the draft, but neither team seems eager at this point to part with assets necessary to make such a jump, says Kyler.

Kawhi Leonard Rumors: Clippers, Lakers, Celtics

The first major story of the NBA offseason broke on Friday, when multiple reports indicated that Kawhi Leonard wanted out of San Antonio. While the Spurs will take a patient, measured approach to the situation and won’t rush Leonard out the door, there was certainly no shortage of trade rumors surrounding the star forward over the weekend.

We’ve got a few more Kawhi-related items to round up this morning, so let’s dive right in…

  • Both the Lakers and Clippers have some concerns about the severity of Leonard’s quad injury, writes Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. While no player on the Lakers’ roster is untouchable, the team’s willingness to part with major pieces for Leonard would depend on how confident the front office is in his health.
  • Assuming the Clippers are comfortable with Leonard’s health, they’d be willing to create a package headlined by Tobias Harris and the 12th or 13th pick in this year’s draft, a source tells Ganguli.
  • Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks of ESPN.com take a closer look at what the Celtics could offer for Leonard, exploring whether higher-priced veteran stars like Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward could be trade chips or whether Boston could put together a package using a handful of less expensive players.
  • Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com examines the impact that the Leonard situation could have on LeBron James‘ decision this summer.
  • The Leonard saga represents the “end of the innocence” for Spurs fans, Mike Finger explains in a column for The San Antonio Express-News.

Latest On Kawhi Leonard

The Suns won’t consider including the top pick in this year’s draft as part of a package to acquire Kawhi Leonard, writes Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Shortly after Leonard’s representatives announced Friday that he wanted out of San Antonio, rumors started flying that the Suns are interested and would be willing to part with their draft choice to make it happen.

The biggest obstacle to a deal, according to Bordow, is Leonard’s ability to become a free agent next summer and his expressed desire to join the Lakers. Phoenix isn’t willing to risk giving away a young building block like Deandre Ayton, along with the other assets it would take to complete a trade, if Leonard is only guaranteed to stay for one year.

San Antonio is reportedly seeking young players with star potential, which is a description that Bordow states describes just two Suns, Devin Booker, who is considered untouchable, and rookie forward Josh Jackson. If Phoenix does get involved in a Leonard deal, it will most likely be as a facilitator, according to Bordow. The Suns have enough cap space to take Luol Deng‘s contract from the Lakers, as long as they receive a young player in return, such as Lonzo Ball.

There’s more Leonard-related news tonight:

  • The Lakers may be the oddsmakers’ favorites to acquire Leonard, but a source close to the Spurs tells Frank Isola of The New York Daily News that the Celtics and Sixers can offer better deals. Isola speculates that Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward could be the asking price from Boston. Another source says Leonard enjoyed living in South Orange, New Jersey, and would be willing to play for the Knicks or the Nets. Isola lists the Heat and Clippers as other teams that could put together enticing trade offers.
  • Any team that trades for Leonard will be taking a significant risk because of his uncertain medical condition, writes Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated. ESPN reported last month that the Spurs believe the injury that limited him to nine games this season was just a deep bone bruise, while his representatives call it a hardening of the area after repeated bruising “and then an atrophy, which in turn affected the tendons connecting the muscle to the knee.”
  • In addition to the on-court factors that could affect Leonard’s destination, he is a free agent with shoe companies, tweets ESPN’s Nick DePaula. The size of the market Leonard goes to could affect the endorsement offers he gets. He reportedly turned down a four-year, $20MM extension offer this winter from Jordan Brand, a division of Nike.