The Los Angeles Lakers ended the regular season with a disappointing 35-47 record, missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.
The Philadelphia 76ers have entered the Kawhi Leonard Derby, according to a Sports Illustrated report, and while SI reports that the Sixers have not made a formal offer to the San Antonio Spurs for Leonard, they've had internal discussions of potential packages to compete with the Celtics' offer for the disgruntled forward. That is what we will try to answer, looking at L.A.'s cap sheet as it stands now, the free agents available on the market, and possible trades that could yield them a big expiring contract.
However, it now appears that this may have developed this week as Shelburne, along with fellow ESPN insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, reported that the two teams have re-engaged on trade talks for the two-time All-Star. That would allow them room for only one maximum salary slot this summer, meaning they would be unable to sign both George and four-time MVP LeBron James, whose 2018 free agency has been tied to Los Angeles. However, he is hesitant to be the first superstar to commit to the Lakers without knowing if other players will be joining him.
The Los Angeles Lakers are feeling the pressure to get a deal done for Kawhi Leonard. "The Lakers hoped to lure James and George in free agency, which would give them more leverage in Leonard trade talks, or simply for the ability to wait until next year to sign Leonard".More news: Defending Champions Germany Must Beat South Korea
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Kuzma's posts come in the wake of reports this week that the Lakers are renewing their efforts to acquire Leonard. So if the C's actually pulled off a Leonard trade, it's likely they will have convinced him to change his mind about that.
The Lakers are Leonard's preferred destination but the Spurs are under no obligation to fulfill that wish, especially knowing that could be the one piece the Lakers need to create their superteam.
This situation with Leonard is unfolding in a similar fashion to how last year's pursuit of Paul George went. 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.