Kawhi Leonard has been in the Los Angeles Lakers rumors for quite some time now, however, the most recent reports are not promising for those wanting to see Leonard in purple and gold.
There have been countless Los Angeles Lakers rumors involving several different NBA superstars since Magic Johnson took over as President of Basketball Operations. Since LeBron James signed with the team at the beginning of July, no player has been more heavily mentioned in the Lakers rumors than Kawhi Leonard.
In fact, Leonard has always had a stronger connection to the city of Los Angeles than James and always seemed to have a much higher chance of joining the Lakers before LeBron. However, the Lakers never caved into the San Antonio Spurs’ steep asking price for Leonard and signed the best player in basketball to a four-year contract.
The Lakers rumors do not stop with James. In fact, they have only grown exponentially since his arrival.
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It is obvious what the front office is doing in exclusively signing one-year contracts this summer; the team is keeping the cap space open for a second superstar to join LeBron next summer. Many think that superstar will be Kawhi Leonard.
Well, not so fast.
It could be James that jeopardizes this coming home party for Leonard and the Lakers. Now, whether it is solely because of LeBron or not, the Los Angeles Clippers have a better chance of landing Leonard.
Tim Bontemps of ESPN reports that a survey of several different NBA executives is leading to the conclusion that the Clippers will be the LA team to land Leonard, not the Lakers. Leonard himself self that he was an Allen Iverson fan, not a Lakers fan, which hurt the whole coming home narrative.
But still, this is a shot in the arm to the Lakers, who may be running out of options. The team already missed out on Paul George will seemingly miss out on Kawhi Leonard and now will likely have DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler to chose from next summer.
Thompson is the only great fit out of those three but even he could be rubbed off the wrong way by the prospects of having to play alongside LeBron James.
That is why this is going to force the Los Angeles Lakers to make a move and why the team is going to make the ultimate Lakers rumors come to fruition: the Brow to LA.
While it will not happen this season, striking out on Kawhi Leonard is going to make the Lakers more persistent in pursuing a trade for Anthony Davis in the offseason. This might even mean overpaying for the star big man.
And while it can be hard for fans to say goodbye to young talent in a trade, it would be worth it for Davis, who is up there with Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo as the faces of the NBA past LeBron James.
Davis is still only 25 and turns 26 in March and he is already a proper MVP candidate in the NBA. He would be worth a trade package that included Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Moritz Wagner and two first-round picks. That is a huge trade haul for the Pelicans but that is a huge piece to add in LA.
It is going to take some work contractually to make this trade even possible but it is definitely something that the Lakers front office can pull off.
So while the Lakers rumors around Kawhi Leonard might not be so promising, it could be a one step back, two steps forward situation that leads to an even bigger star in Anthony Davis.