The San Antonio Spurs are still trying to fix their relationship with Kawhi Leonard, hoping he will sign the massive contract extension with the team this offseason. However, the 27-year-old small forward has made it clear that he already wants his way out of San Antonio, forcing the Spurs to entertain calls and trade offers from other NBA teams. As most people think, trading Leonard this offseason will be the best option for the Spurs, rather than losing him in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
When Kawhi Leonard expressed his desire to leave, rumors circulated that he prefers to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Recently, Leonard reportedly has a player in mind who he wants to play with next season. According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, Leonard called Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James and told him that he wants them to play together on one team.
“San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has reached out to LeBron James, informing the 33-year-old superstar that he wants to play alongside him.
“Leonard pitched James on his incredible defensive ability and how it would alleviate the pressure on James, the source said.”
We'll be updating this until LeBron makes up his mind, with insight/information from myself and @JeffZillgitt.
First up: Did LeBron text KD? And why the Paul George/OKC noise could dictate how the Lakers handle the Kawhi situation https://t.co/81d1B4zy5b
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 28, 2018
Hearing Kawhi Leonard call someone about playing together is undeniably surprising news, but crazy things do always happen every offseason. Leonard and James have been frequently linked to each other in the past months, and one of the few NBA teams who could realistically acquire both players is the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers currently have enough salary cap space to give LeBron James a maximum contract and a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Spurs. As of now, the Lakers have re-engaged in trade negotiation with the Spurs, hoping to acquire Leonard before free agency starts in July. Despite their worsening relationship, the Spurs are still expecting valuable assets in exchange for their disgruntled superstar, and according to ESPN, only an “overwhelming Lakers offer” can convince San Antonio to send Leonard to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, LeBron James has until 11:59 p.m. on Friday to decide whether he will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers or not. Though most people expect him to test the free agency market once again, James’ decision to join the Lakers “won’t be sealed” by their successful acquisition of Kawhi Leonard, according to Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.