Lakers seeking to deal for Kawhi Leonard ahead of LeBron James' decision

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The pressure is on the Los Angeles Lakers to acquire a star player, as LeBron James is reportedly reluctant to join Los Angeles before another star is also on board.

Unlike James and George, Leonard doesn't control his own destiny. While Leonard wants to be traded to the Lakers, early talks between the franchise and the Spurs have not got off to a promising start. "If they are going to make a leverage trade... they might as well make it in February".

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.

They've never publicly wavered in their support of last year's No. 1 overall pick, even throughout the mysterious saga involving his right shoulder injury and broken jump shot. Though Leonard told other teams he wouldn't re-sign with them by the summer of 2019, the Celtics could still trade for Leonard as he has no power of where he goes. Ainge made a transaction last summer with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving who had wanted out then. This is one of several reasons why neither of them may obtain him. "If James signed with LA, he's conceding he won't make the National Basketball Association finals".

James has yet to opt out of his contract in Cleveland, but we all know that's what's going to happen.

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George will be an unrestricted free agent in July and while he admitted playing in his native state would be "attractive", he has also hinted he would like to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, claiming the team "checked all the boxes". Whether that is true or San Antonio just want to use Philly for leverage is up for debate, but the Sixers are at least at the table.

The Spurs hold all of the cards in the Kawhi Leonard trade discussions.

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.

George was generally the superstar attached to LeBron for a potential Lakers tandem, but when Leonard requested out of San Antonio, his name was thrown squarely into the mix.

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