NBA Free Agency Rumors: Kawhi Leonard ‘Focused’ On Los Angeles, But Not Lakers
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the 2018-19 NBA season, there were conflicting reports about the Los Angeles Lakers’ ability to sign a second All-Star player alongside LeBron James.

As the drama-filled start to the offseason certainly did not help, the Lakers eventually traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans after nearly five months later.

While James and Davis are an instant championship contender, all of the attention has been on if the Lakers still have a max-contract slot available in free agency.

Although the Lakers reportedly will still pursue Kawhi Leonard, it appears to be a two-team race on June 30, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“The reality is Kawhi Leonard’s focused on Los Angeles, but it’s the Clippers. Not the Lakers. Number one, they don’t have the money to sign him. And two, the idea of him being a third wheel on a team trying to create a superteam — that has not been Kawhi’s M.O. The Clippers are poised to be able to lure him from Toronto. This will be a Raptors-Clippers fight down to the end. He may take meetings with more teams. It’s not even certain he’d even take a meeting with the Lakers right now.”

As for Leonard, he is going to enjoy the 2019 NBA Finals win against the Golden State Warriors and take some time, according to Ian Harrison of Associated Press:

“I’m going to take the right time,” he said. “You don’t need too many days to figure it out. We’ll see what happens. Once that time comes, then we’ll all lay the pros and cons out.”

For the first time in five seasons, the landscape of the NBA is changing due to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson’s injuries. With James and Davis, the Lakers are certainly on the right path to ending the team’s playoff drought.

Depending on when the Davis trade is officially completed, the Lakers could sign a third All-Star player like Leonard or multiple role players to improve their depth now.

For the Lakers, it is good to have options and the hope is general manager Rob Pelinka and company did not overlook the timing of the trade and lose $8.8 million in cap space.