With LeBron James reportedly committing to a 4-year/$154M dollar contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Paul George vowing to stay in Oklahoma City, the super team many expected to include Kawhi Leonard still needs some work. There are dominoes yet to fall now that James signed a long-term contract, and they aren’t the league’s biggest.
Immediately, you have to wonder whether James will flex his muscle and push Magic Johnson to bring Kawhi Leonard on board. Trade talks between the Spurs and Lakers reportedly stalled repeatedly in the past few days. As it stands, as long as L.A. watches their salary cap situation, Leonard could simply join next summer when he can opt out of his contract. If the Lakers are willing to wait a season for Leonard’s services, the Spurs’ leverage to get something back for Kawhi this summer is practically nil.
But wait, there’s more bad news in the form of yet another rumor. San Antonio may not even be able to expect one last productive season from Kawhi if they run their current roster onto the court. Should the Spurs refuse to make a trade unless they get a good return for the Klaw . . . Stephen A. Smith reported that Leonard is prepared to sit next season out:
Stephen A Smith just reported league executives are telling him don't be shocked if Kawhi Leonard sits out NEXT season as well to get to LA - wowowowow.— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) July 2, 2018
With continued speculation possible about what Leonard wants due to the absence of any actual attributable quotes from him or his group outlining his intentions, this rumor may be just one more in the ongoing saga that’s become the Spurs’ strangest offseason ever. But then again, most Spurs fans also blew off Jalen Rose in January when he said that Kawhi wanted out, so it’s not like ignoring rumors has worked out too well for us thus far.
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