LeBron James has committed to the Los Angeles Lakers, many fans are wondering if Magic Johnson can also get Kawhi Leonard. It is possible under the salary cap for the Lakers to now trade for Leonard, while still saving the necessary cap space to also sign James.
The big question is whether the Spurs are willing to acquiesce to Leonard’s desire to play in Los Angeles. The Lakers will have to make it clear they are prepared to make the best offer the Spurs will receive. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported Leonard is prepared to sit out all of next season if the Spurs do not make a trade. Smith also reported the Lakers may move on to other options if they cannot reach a deal by Monday, July 2.
According to Spotrac, Leonard is set to make about $20 million next season, and the Spurs will need to take on similar salaries to be able to make the trade work under the current salary cap. This means if the Lakers were to trade for Leonard it would have little impact on their salary cap number for the coming season, but it would impact future seasons as Leonard’s salary number is likely to rise on a new deal.
To get the Spurs to seriously consider a deal, the Lakers likely need to provide some combination of draft picks, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. It is hard to fathom a potential deal to work under the cap without the Lakers including Luol Deng’s salary, but the Spurs are unlikely to want to take on his deal. The Lakers may need to find a third team to make the trade realistically work for both parties.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Leonard’s top option remains the Lakers, especially with James signing with the team. ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported the Sixers are also in play to acquire Leonard.
“Sources: As trade talks have unfolded, Kawhi Leonard’s focus is unchanged: He wants to be a Laker,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Source: Heavy Sports