76ers reportedly believe they could sign Kawhi Leonard long-term
02 July, 2018, 04:18 | Author: Rachael Silva
While Magic Johnson plays it cool regarding his chances to add major free agents to the Los Angeles Lakers, pressure to create his own superteam in L.A. may be mounting behind the scenes.
Among the five suitors for Kawhi Leonard, the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers can put together the best packages. LeBron isn't the only person heading to a new team and in fact, there are a lot of star players available this summer.
The Spurs have always been most intrigued with Boston's trade assets, but it remains unclear how rich of a package the Celtics are willing to offer without a full understanding of the long-term implications of Leonard's quadriceps injury, or an assurance that they can be certain of Leonard's willingness to consider a long-term commitment next summer, league sources said.
It's a tricky spot for the Lakers.
Leonard's and the Spurs' relationship fractured this year while Leonard was out with a leg injury.
Ben Maller thinks that if the Spurs were smart, they wouldn't trade them to the Lakers at all. If LeBron James leaves the Cleveland as many people are speculating, the 76ers and Celtics rise to the top of the Eastern Conference without Kawhi Leonard.
Haynes notes that the Los Angeles Clippers "haven't abandoned pursuit" of Leonard and could potentially trade for him this offseason. The first-team all-NBA forward in 2015-16 and 2016-17 can opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent after this year.
Leonard - a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and two-time First-Team All-NBA selection - possesses the shooting prowess to play on or off the ball, and would seem to be an ideal fit with James.
On the other hand, Fultz was the No. 1 pick for a reason, and he could still end up turning into a star. If the Lakers balk at the Spurs' price for Leonard, perhaps the Spurs deal Leonard elsewhere.
Translation: one of the best two-way players in the National Basketball Association, a California native, one year before becoming an unrestricted free agent, has plans to become a Laker and wants to be traded there now.
It will be hard for the Lakers to get a deal done in a one-on-one swap.
If the Lakers truly view Leonard as the piece that will land LeBron James, then a decision may be coming soon.
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