It has been reported for months that Kawhi Leonard wants to play for the Lakers and will sign with them as a free agent next summer if he is not traded to Los Angeles sooner, but some have wondered if LeBron James’ latest career decision altered Leonard’s plans at all. That doesn’t appear to be the case.
NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, who has been sharing Leonard scoops this week and seems to have some connection to the star forward’s camp, said on FS1’s “First Things First” Friday that Leonard has not had a change of heart and still wants to play for the Lakers.
“Nothing’s changed from Kawhi’s side. He still wants to go to Los Angeles & he’s still not interested in being rented out for 1 season — that being Philly, Boston, Toronto, or any other team."@criscarter80 reports after talking to Kawhi’s camp last night pic.twitter.com/3Sk3fVy8Xx
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) July 13, 2018
“Kawhi can be traded anywhere, so is it a possibly? Yes, but nothing’s changed from Kawhi’s side,” Carter said. “He still wants to go to Los Angeles, and he’s still not interested in being rented out for one season — that being Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto or any other team.”
Carter had another noteworthy report about the Leonard situation earlier this week when he said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is trying to make Kawhi happy.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 10, 2018
As long as the Lakers are confident Leonard wants to play with LeBron, they’re the only team with leverage. While a surprise suitor has entered the mix, teams aren’t going to give up much for Leonard in a trade if he just plans to sign with the Lakers anyway. And if the Spurs have no chance of smoothing things over with Leonard, they have to trade him eventually or risk losing him for nothing. At this point, a LeBron-Kawhi pairing still seems likely.