March 19, 2018
NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers, Thunder Expected To Compete For Kawhi Leonard's Signature, Reports 'Metro USA'

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has continued to be sidelined by the quad injury that made him miss all but nine games of the team this season. According to Metro USA's Matt Burke, the Spurs might decide to trade the former NBA Finals MVP this summer and the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder have emerged as two of the top trade partners for the club.

With injuries to key players still affecting the team's performances, the Lakers have gone on a three-game losing slide after winning eight of their previous 10 games. Despite showing a lot of promise and potential, the team as it is now is still raw to compete with the best teams in the league, and so a crucial summer that includes blockbuster trades and free agent signings is anticipated to happen for team president Magic Johnson and company.

There are plenty of speculations that the Lakers will pursue LeBron James and Paul George in free agency, but the latest rumor is that the Hollywood squad might also pull off a potentially league-altering trade involving Leonard.

Combining James, George, and Leonard in La La Land next season would instantly make the Lakers a title-contending team, Metro USA indicated. The aforementioned superstars are arguably the best two-way players in the league right now, and having all three on the same team would give even the defending champion Golden State Warriors a lot of headaches trying to contain each one of them.

Kawhi Leonard and Brandon Ingram during a Spurs vs Lakers game
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (right) tries to drive past the Lakers' Brandon Ingram.

However, the report noted that a trade for Leonard might cost the Lakers Ingram and Kuzma, who are both considered as the future of the franchise. The two young stars are solid players who have tons of upside, but the team is said to be prepared to give them both away with the chance to sign Leonard.

Meanwhile, the Thunder are also predicted to pursue Leonard via a trade at the end of the season. Even with their current six-game winning run, some analysts still think that OKC's Big Three of George, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook have underwhelmed this season.

The Metro USA report said that George and Anthony would likely walk away in free agency this July, and so the Thunder are expected to find new stars to surround Westbrook with. Leonard is rumored to be one of the stars that the team could pursue soon.