There are a number of intriguing free agents expected to be available for the Los Angeles Lakers to pursue in free agency this summer. Undoubtedly the best wing player set to hit NBA free agency is reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard who will be a restricted free agent.
Before anyone gets their hopes up, however, there are reportedly no scenarios in which Leonard will pursue offer sheets this summer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
For now, there’s no scenario where Leonard plans to pursue offer sheets on the market, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Leonard wants to be a Spur, and the Spurs are expected to come calling on July 1 with the max offer that they resisted delivering Leonard in the preseason, a move born out of preserving cap space to bring on a star free agent this summer.
The cap space preserved by waiting on a max deal for Leonard could very well be used to lure Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge to San Antonio, via Wojnarowski:
San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard can sell Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge on something that Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony are unable: the chance to play with basketball’s best burgeoning two-way player […] The Spurs will offer Leonard a full maximum contract extension, get a commitment and turn themselves toward prying Aldridge back to his Texas roots.
Bringing in Leonard or Aldridge in free agency was always a long shot. Someone as quiet and reserved as Leonard would likely not be attracted to the bright lights of Los Angeles. Aldridge is more likely to jump ship, but if the Spurs recruit hard, it will be difficult for the Lakers to compete with what they can offer.
Ultimately, there are no guarantees in free agency and things that seem like a lock to happen can suddenly change. Even if Leonard and Aldridge aren’t in the Lakers’ plans, there are plenty of other players who could wind up in purple and gold next year.
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