If Los Angeles and San Antonio can agree on a trade, it could greatly increase the chances of James choosing to become a free agent and signing a deal with the Lakers.
With just a couple of days to go before LeBron James faces a deadline on whether to opt out of his contract with the Cavaliers and enter unrestricted free agency, the rumor mill is going into overdrive, particularly with speculation about how close he might be to agreeing to join the Lakers.
LeBron James, right, might be hoping to have Kawhi Leonard on his side this season.
According to a report from ESPN, James is "hesitant" to be the first superstar player the Lakers acquire this offseason, whether that's via trade or free agency.
While there have been rumblings that the Spurs have no interest in trading Leonard to the Lakers or any other Western Conference team, ESPN reports that they have not ruled it out.
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Landing Leonard would be a huge first step in the Lakers attempting to sign big free agents like LeBron James and Paul George in free agency, creating a core of star players to bring the team back to relevance in the National Basketball Association.
The C's reached out to San Antonio about Leonard on Wednesday, but no real negotiation was made, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
Wojnarowski followed that up by noting the Los Angeles native wants to play in his hometown, preferably for the Lakers.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has taken similar risks before, though nothing identical to giving up a haul for Leonard, who played only nine games this season because of a leg injury but who finished third in MVP voting only one season prior. George wrapped up one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder after spending the first seven years of his career with the Indiana Pacers. If he's serious about his employment with the team, swinging a deal for Leonard would make him a man of his word. If the Spurs wait too long, James and George can make their decisions, and the Lakers could move on from Leonard, knowing they may sign him next summer.