Report: Lakers believe they will be factor in Kawhi Leonard chase
The Los Angeles Lakers believe they will be a factor in the Kawhi Leonard free agent chase, according to a report.
The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported on Tuesday that the Lakers believe think they will be involved in the pursuit of the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
The Lakers have believed for weeks — even before they acquired Anthony Davis — that they would factor into the Kawhi Leonard chase. This has been widely billed as a two-team race between the Clippers and Toronto, but the Lakers' chance to hush their skeptics is fast approaching
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019
Leonard turned down his $21.3 million player option for next season to become a free agent. He is a Southern California native and was believed to be seeking a chance to play for the Lakers or Clippers when he forced a trade from the Spurs. However, the Raptors were able to acquire him and he led them to the championship. He reportedly is giving serious consideration to returning to Toronto.
If Leonard does not return to Toronto, the belief has long been that he would sign with the Clippers. The Clippers have the cap space to sign him to a big-money deal as well as many other players in place on the roster at reasonable prices to serve as a supporting cast. The Lakers have LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, but they do not currently have the cap space for a max contract offer. They also would not be able to afford much of a supporting cast beyond those four players if they were to add Leonard.
Leonard just proved he can win a championship as the lead player of a team. Leaving to go compete with LeBron and Davis for the team leader role does not seem like it would make much sense for him, but the Lakers may want to prove otherwise.