Monday, 12 November, 2018

Clippers have made trading for Kawhi Leonard a high priority

Sixers Mailbag and free agency primer Sixers Mailbag and free agency primer
Sergio Cook | 03 July, 2018, 02:11

With Leonard adamant about joining the Lakers either now or as a free agent in 2019, the Spurs don't have much leverage.

Los Angeles is among the teams in the mix to land James after his agent told the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday that he will not exercise his $35.6 million contract option for next season. And while that desire has sparked speculation of Leonard being dealt either to Philly or the Boston Celtics, many still believe the Lakers are the frontrunners.

The balance of power in the National Basketball Association could shift if James chooses to leave Cleveland and create a new superteam with the Los Angeles Lakers or join a burgeoning power such as the Houston Rockets or Philadelphia 76ers.

That might change if the Lakers are determined to add their second star now. Regardless of how the rest of this offseason goes, James clearly did not make this move simply based on where he would have best chance of knocking off the Warriors immediately. According to ESPN, the Spurs are asking for a huge package in return for Leonard.

Whether Philly has the assets to acquire Leonard is up for debate. Maybe James will be OK with mentoring a bunch of young guys - and likely some vets who sign in order to play with him - and waiting for a trade or next summer's free agency to bring a genuine co-star.

On the other hand, there's a danger in not striking while the iron is hot.

According to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, "The question now is whether the Lakers even have enough to convince the Spurs to send Leonard there". It seems, however, that James is only the first of the Lakers' seismic hauls this off-season.

The Lakers, who had huge cap space this summer, missed out on Paul George after he re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder following links to the Staples Center. Spurs teammates questioned the severity of the injury as Leonard's absence continued after the team had cleared him medically.

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