Spurs and Lakers believe Kawhi Leonard trade clinches LeBron to LA

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal

A day after Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson exuded confidence beyond the expectations of many, ESPN reported pressure is mounting on Johnson and the Lakers' front office to make a deal for San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. That said, Wojnarowski notes that the Celtics are "extremely cautious" due to the uncertainty with Leonard's health and his desire to play for the Lakers. The Spurs have acknowledged their fractured relationship with Leonard, but general manager R.C. Buford recently said the team's first option would be to retain the 26-year-old All-Star.

The stakes on these talks are enormous, because a deal for Leonard would likely clinch a free agent commitment out of LeBron James. Josh Hart, who was taken at the end of the 2017 first round, could also be included in a potential trade.

Sam Amick of USA Today reported hearing "rumblings" Thursday of a "Godfather Lakers offer" to the Spurs.

The one constant in everything is Brandon Ingram.

They have enough assets to make a strong run at the disgruntled Spurs superstar, but understand he is now swathed in question marks.

Although it would seem that the Spurs are open to trading their best player, they're in no rush to offload him.

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On the flip side, the Celtics are rumored to be dipping their toe into the water on trade talks for Leonard. Boston could have four first-rounders in 2019, including the Sacramento Kings' top-one protected selection.

The Lakers of course aren't the only team that would love to land James.

Adding more money to the books would make signing LeBron James and Paul George exceedingly hard, if not downright impossible, for the Purple and Gold.

Outside of that, the Celtics have plenty of pieces to offer up in a deal for Leonard, including Irving, who up to this point has not received much attention as a potential trade piece.

Kawhi is possibly the ticket to bringing in LeBron. Once draft picks are signed, they can not be traded for 30 days. The Lakers may have to convince the stubborn Spurs to part ways with Kawhi quickly by making a substantial offer that may make Lakers fans feel uneasy. That's what we want as Lakers fans, and we may have to risk the young guys to attain it.

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