Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

76ers still have 'strong' interest in acquiring Kawhi Leonard

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
| 03 July, 2018, 02:11

Leonard clearly wants out of San Antonio, but he can make life hard for the Spurs by refusing to sign long-term with any team but the Los Angeles Lakers.

That might change if the Lakers are determined to add their second star now.

The Los Angeles Lakers won a grand total of 35 games last season in the NBA's always-tough Western Conference, but guess who just became one of the oddsmakers' favourites to win it all next season?

The decision makes the four-time MVP the headliner of a star-studded free-agent class that includes Paul George, Chris Paul and DeMarcus Cousins, among others.

It's a tricky spot for the Lakers.

The Spurs have the final say on where the swingman will ultimately end up, and they don't feel obliged to grant Leonard's dream trade scenario. "But my gut feeling is that Kawhi Leonard won't get traded until the trade deadline during the season, and nothing happens at all this summer".


Lakers president Magic Johnson recently gave a confident statement about the Lakers' offseason, saying if things don't go their way this summer, they will move onto next summer to go after free agents.

The fact that he didn't pick up his option could be good news for anxious Cavs fans, who fear James may leave them for the second time in his career.

On the other hand, there's a danger in not striking while the iron is hot.

The Spurs have been pursuing a package for Leonard that combines future assets and players who can help them stay a playoff team in the present. James has until Friday to decide on his contract option, and free agency begins July 1.

Whichever team lands Leonard, they could also land the grand prize in this National Basketball Association offseason's free agent market-LeBron James, whose deadline is Friday, June 29 as to whether or not he'll stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Spurs teammates questioned the severity of the injury as Leonard's absence continued after the team had cleared him medically.

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