Kemba Walker is about as good of a player that the Cavs could conceivably acquire this offseason. Los Angeles has yet to sign 25th overall pick Mo Wagner, meaning his rights can potentially be included in a trade; the Lakers are also willing to take on salary in order to facilitate a deal for an additional first-round pick, according to ESPN. Los Angeles believes landing one of those stars would likely mean James is coming, as well.
In attempting to force through a trade exit, Leonard is prepared to turn down the chance to sign a $219m supermax contract extension with the Spurs, showing the level of his discontent with the Western Conference giants.
George isn't the only free agent the Lakers could target in a pairing with James. He played only nine games this year because of a leg injury.
However, George could re-sign with Oklahoma City for $176 million for five years.
We can assume the Sixers won't be interested in giving up either Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid. If James does indeed decide to head West, that could make George's decision a lot easier. Should one of them work for both sides, and a trade be agreed upon, the Sixers could theoretically blindside the league by adding James in the aftermath. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers continue to show interest in the former NBA Finals MVP.
"I think if LeBron signs in LA, it reduces the Spurs' leverage because no longer can the Spurs sell that the Lakers need Kawhi to get LeBron", Windhorst explained.
It's understandable that the Spurs would want to shop here, but the C's aren't about to perform major surgery on a roster that is in position to regenerate from within over the next several years as Brown, Tatum and others develop. They also could pursue Chris Paul of the Rockets, who can become an unrestricted free agent Saturday after spending one season in Houston after last summer's trade from the Clippers.
San Antonio has been checking the market to see what kind of return it could get for Leonard, but it's hard to see things working out with the Celtics given the questions surrounding Leonard's health and plans.
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