Lakers trade rumors: Kawhi, LeBron & Paul George — how it can be done

(Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) – Lakers trade rumors
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) – Lakers trade rumors /

Step one: The trade

Obviously, the Los Angeles Lakers would need to commit to trading for Kawhi Leonard before signing the other stars. In fact, there is no guarantee that the Lakers can get LeBron or George without accomplishing this trade.

Not only does LA get an established star to intrigue James and George, they can manage to open up contract space in the process.

This seems like a whole lot to give up for Kawhi Leonard. But quite frankly, getting rid of Luol Deng and his max contract is something the Lakers would be willing to pay an extra draft pick or two for. As it currently stands, this trade would actually free up just under $4 million in cap space.

The Lakers have $61 million in practical cap space right now, this deal moves that number up to $65 million.

Trading Brandon Ingram may be a tough pill to swallow but would be worth it in the long run. Ingram’s ceiling mirrors how good Leonard already is so the chance of a downgrade is near impossible.

If this trade was followed by LeBron James and Paul George, well, I am sure Laker fans would not be too bummed about losing Ingram. This team is a factory for winning rings. The Lakers will be just fine without Ingram, especially with youth in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle.