During an appearance on ESPN, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski revealed the Lakers may be willing to wait for Kawhi Leonard next summer in free agency, as opposed to trading for him now.
According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers have yet to make an “overwhelming” offer to the San Antonio Spurs for Leonard, saying the purple and gold haven’t “come close” to meeting the current asking price for the 27-year-old.
Wojnarowski also notes that the Lakers don’t have access to the medical records of Leonard, so there may be some hesitation there to trade for a guy who may have lost a step due to injury.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are also interested in acquiring Leonard via trade, though Wojnarowski notes that both teams are hesitant to give up too much seeing as Kawhi has made it clear to those around him that he wants to be a Laker.
The Sixers are holding Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz out of trade talks, per Woj, and the Celtics would rather make a “pick heavy” deal for Leonard as opposed to trading their top players.
The Spurs, Woj says, want players back who can help them win now. In that case, the Lakers may be the best option for them, though the Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will be reluctant to give up the farm for a player they could very likely sign in free agency next summer.
The Lakers are also probably using Leonard’s pending free agency as leverage, threatening the Spurs in talks that their star man could leave for nothing next summer and head to L.A., so why not get a deal done now and at least get something in return?
Johnson and Pelinka will be in no rush to make a big move for Leonard or anyone else, especially as LeBron James is said to be fine with waiting for the front office to add more talent around him.
L.A. are in a great position right now. It’s your move, Spurs.