The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly had their sights set on San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, hoping to work a trade for the disgruntled former Finals MVP.
Leonard made it known that he wants to be traded, with a move back to his hometown of Los Angeles being his preference. However, the Spurs have not been very accommodating of the request up to this point.
They intend to remain patient in order to get top dollar for him, though at some point they will almost certainly have to pull the trigger and severe what has become a broken relationship.
During an appearance on ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski explained the Spurs have high expectations if they are going to part with Leonard:
“The Spurs have a threshold and it is very high for a Kawhi Leonard deal. They’re not giving him away. They’re going to be willing to walk away from this frenzied period of free agency and still try to play the long game. Maybe try to repair that relationship (by) offering that $219 million supermax contract. Right now, Boston, Philly and the Lakers have all shown interest but no one has made it easy for the Spurs to just say yes and do a deal.”
For the Lakers, the question is do they surrender assets in order to trade for Leonard now or do they wait for him to become a free agent in 2019 and then pursue him.
Patience didn’t pay off with Paul George, who ultimately decided to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder after requesting a trade to Los Angeles last summer.
However, if the Spurs are asking for too much, then the Lakers may be better off hanging on to young assets like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. Los Angeles may be operating that way as their recent trade offers are said to have been underwhelming.
There could be a middle ground somewhere that would satisfy both teams, but that hasn’t been reached at this point.
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