San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard is only one of the few NBA players who can stop Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James on the court. James has a huge respect for Leonard and admitted that he does the best job guarding him one-on-one in the entire league. In the past months, both superstars have been frequently mentioned in various NBA rumors regarding their plan to leave their current teams.
Kawhi Leonard is expected to demand a trade in the offseason if his rumored dispute with the Spurs won’t be fixed. Meanwhile, multiple signs are pointing out that LeBron James will be leaving the Cavaliers for the second time and chase for another NBA championship title somewhere else. Chris Ross of USA Today Sports recently discussed how the rumors swirling around Leonard can impact James’ decision this summer.
The Spurs may not be on the list of James’ potential free agency destinations, but his relationship with Coach Gregg Popovich could persuade him to head to San Antonio. However, Ross believes that without Leonard, the Spurs won’t be a desirable destination for James. At 33, James may not have shown a sign of slowing down, but no one can deny the fact that he’s already on the downside of his career. Teaming up with a player of Leonard’s caliber will lessen the effort he needs to exert during the regular season which could help him go all out in the playoffs.
Ross opened up the idea that LeBron James could join the team where Kawhi Leonard will be traded this summer, citing the Los Angeles Lakers as their potential destination. Since the offseason, James and Paul George emerge as the Lakers’ top targets in free agency. However, according to Royce Young of ESPN, George already revealed his plan to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder no matter what the outcome is of the 2017-18 NBA season.
This will push the Lakers to explore other options in which one of them could be a trade involving Leonard. The Lakers currently have enough assets to make a deal. A previous Inquisitr article suggested that Los Angeles could send Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma to the Spurs for Leonard. Giving up such talent is undeniably a tough decision for the Lakers, but it is something they should consider if they really want to sign LeBron James.
However, the Lakers aren’t the only team interested in trading for Leonard or signing James in free agency. Several NBA teams are surely starting to make their own strategies to add both or either superstar on their team. Until a move or a decision has been made, expect rumors to continue circulating around James and Leonard.