Leonard wants a trade to the Lakers now, and he has expressed his desire to sign with them in free agency in 2019.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are the teams most often reported as the top Leonard suitors. The reasoning, according to the trio, is that both teams believe that sending Leonard to LA would also clinch a commitment from James who is still mulling his options for free agency now.
It won't be that simple though, as the Lakers still need to offer a package to the Spurs that they find fair.
National Basketball Association free agency - it's just getting started this offseason.
Leonard made clear his intentions of wanting to be traded away from San Antonio earlier this month, with the Lakers being his preferred destination.
Did late recruitment drive undermine Tunisia's World Cup effort?
Tunisia also used pace and direct running to expose Belgium's defense, though tested goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois too rarely. This team has been clicking with eight goals in two games, but they've yet to be tested against a strong squad.
He also suggested that he should not be judged until after next summer, leaving some uncertainty about this year's free agent class.
"Kawhi Leonard to miss birthday party (return from injury management)", one fan said in relation to this past season's Spurs injury report.
The problem for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka appears to be that the Spurs are uninterested in some of the current assets the Lakers have to offer.
As Chuck just mentioned to me offline, the Celtics could just be driving up the price for Kawhi so the Lakers can gut their team for him.
Until the Spurs make a decision on what they're going to do with Leonard, James - and likely Paul George - will delay making their decisions. The outspoken father has already thrown out a preemptive salvo against the idea of the Lakers trading Lonzo and has often criticized the organization for how it's handling his progeny. They may end up being forced to surrender young assets like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, future first-round picks and maybe even a sign-and-trade agreement with restricted free agent Julius Randle, according to ESPN.