"Pressure is mounting" for the Lakers to pull off a trade for Kawhi.
There's a belief that the Los Angeles Lakers will need to add another talented star if they want to land LeBron James as a free agent this Summer, and the team is scrambling to do so before Friday, June 29, when LeBron has to decide whether or not to opt in to his final year with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, the "pressure is mounting" for the Lakers to pull off a trade with the San Antonio Spurs for All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard. The report claims "there's a race to secure Leonard before James is faced with deciding whether to become a free agent on Friday, especially with concern that Oklahoma City's Paul George is no longer assured of signing with the Lakers."
While Leonard is intent on playing for the Lakers, ESPN recently reported that the Lakers "did not have a good initial conversation with the Spurs." On top of that, there are several other teams with valuable assets that are looking into the possibility of trading for Leonard, including the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers.
Leonard has one year remaining on his contract, meaning any team willing to trade for him would likely need to be assured ahead of time that he'd sign a contract extension. That certainly plays in favor of the Lakers, as Leonard has stated that's where he wants to play.
Wojnarowski notes, the Lakers have expressed a willingness to teams to take on 2018-19 salary for the chance to secure a future first-round pick, which could then be used to sweeten a prospective trade opportunity.