Los Angeles Lakers under pressure to pull off Kawhi Leonard trade

Lakers Rumors: LA's Pitch to Sign Paul George Has Been Revealed

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Paul George will give fans an inside look at his offseason and looming free agency with a three-part series on SportsCenter, ESPN announced on Monday. If Leonard is adamant about leaving San Antonio and can successfully convince every other team that he will only sign a long-term extension with the Lakers, the Spurs won't have much leverage in trade talks.

With LeBron James facing a Friday deadline on whether to opt out of his contract with the Cavaliers, the Lakers are under pressure to sweeten the landing spot for the superstar by trading for Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard before then, according to ESPN.

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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. All of those players have their own major decisions to make, although Leonard's situation is the most complex, because he is still under contract with the Spurs for one more season. And the best information circulating through league front offices is that Leonard is still intent on getting to the Lakers, either by trade now or as a free agent next summer. "Our goal is to keep him as part of our program for a long time". A recent report by the Orange County Register's Mark Heisler included this quote from a source identified as a general manager for an Eastern Conference team: "LeBron is doing what he does: calling players on other teams he wants to play with".

According to ESPN, the Cavs have inquired about Leonard, who has requested a trade from the Spurs, but likely don't possess enough assets to pull off such deal.

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The Lakers have enticing, young pieces but are caught between the realistic possibility of acquiring Leonard as a free agent next summer and guaranteeing his presence for 2018-19. But if Leonard is set on going to Los Angeles next year, Ainge probably won't want to part with much, and would likely be unwilling to give up Jaylen Brown, who was one of Boston's most reliable players in just his second National Basketball Association season. Free agency is days away, and reports suggest James wants to make his free agency decision quickly.

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