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Free agency starts on Friday and the Lakers are trying to give James a reason to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. Los Angeles is in a rush to trade for Leonard because it appears that Paul George will most likely resign with the Thunder and won’t be joining the Lakers. If George doesn’t sign with the Lakers, it will almost guarantee James not signing with Los Angeles.
Instead, the Lakers are trying to make another superteam. This one will include Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. That is, if the Spurs decide to trade with the Lakers. They have blacklisted the Lakers and don’t want to trade with them at all. They don’t want to be the ones to help the Lakers build a superteam. These teams play four times a year and may see each other in the playoffs so the Spurs have a reason to be wary.
To overcome that, the Lakers will have to offer a deal that the Spurs cannot refuse. That will hurt the Lakers because they will have to offer more than is necessary just to make the Spurs want to trade with them. This is a great strategic move from the Spurs because they will get more for Leonard than what he is worth because of the Lakers desperation.
Landing LeBron James is the ultimate goal for the Lakers. If they get the best player, then they would be the best team in the league. The young talent the Lakers have acquired for the past few years are capable of making a run if they had a superstar or two. Add a Kawhi Leonard with James and that team will be a nightmare to play against.
It seems like now that the Lakers are in desperation mode because they are close to missing out on every superstar that was available to them. Paul George may still in Oklahoma, Leonard may be traded to any team besides the Lakers and those two actions will force James to not play for the Lakers. Just a few months ago, the Lakers were excited about the possibility of signing two superstars this off-season.
They can still salvage upcoming free agency but only if they are willing to go to extremes to get Leonard. They have to send an over the top trade package to San Antonio. Is Magic Johnson going to break up his young cast of players just to please James? Trading for Leonard doesn’t guarantee James and that is something the Lakers must remember because he is going to do what’s best for him and not what’s best for the Lakers.