The 2017-18 NBA season is officially over for the Los Angeles Lakers, but they will be heading the upcoming offseason with the goal of adding superstars to the team either via trade or free agency. One of their potential trade targets is Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. One league executive recently told Sean Deveney of Sporting News that the Lakers will "go in hard" for Leonard this summer.
On ESPN's First Take, Stephen A. Smith suggested that the Lakers could explore a trade package centered on Lonzo Ball to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs. Smith believes Brandon Ingram or Julius Randle could also be included in the deal. But, does the proposed deal make sense for the Lakers and the Spurs?
The trade is a no-brainer for the Spurs, especially if Leonard refuses to sign an extension in the upcoming offseason. Sending the disgruntled superstar to Los Angeles for Lonzo Ball and another young and talented player will give the Spurs the opportunity to speed up the rebuilding process. Ball could be the perfect replacement for Tony Parker, who is already at the near end of his NBA career.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard will make the Lakers more appealing for incoming free agents this summer. When healthy, Leonard has proved to be one of the best two-way players in the league. However, the Lakers can acquire a superstar of Leonard's caliber without sacrificing valuable assets like Ball, Ingram, or Randle.
Since assuming front office roles, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka have created enough salary cap space to sign two maximum salaried-players in the upcoming offseason, or in the summer of 2019. However, ESPN's Max Kellerman suggested that the Lakers should immediately make a move once Kawhi Leonard becomes available on the trade market this summer. There is a strong chance that they could acquire him in 2019 free agency, but Kellerman believes the Lakers aren't the only team who will make a pitch for Leonard.
Kellerman agreed with Stephen A. Smith's proposal that the Lakers should package Lonzo Ball together with Brandon Ingram or Julius Randle for Kawhi Leonard. However, the two ESPN analysts had an argument on whether Kyle Kuzma should also be part of the deal. Still, it will be the Lakers who will decide on what moves they are going to make in the upcoming offseason. But, it's interesting to know if they will consider giving up multiple young and talented players for the All-Star forward.