With the month of May officially underway, things are starting to heat up for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are hoping to be big players in free agency this summer. However, they will also be keeping tabs on NBA trade rumors regarding disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard’s situation with the San Antonio Spurs.
After sitting out the entirety of San Antonio’s five-game playoff stint, Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs organization is reportedly on the rocks. If Leonard and the Spurs can’t work things out sooner rather than later, Leonard is rumored to have interest in coming to Los Angeles to play for his hometown Lakers, and there was a report Tuesday morning suggest the Spurs are “worried” about exactly such a scenario.
However, according to Bovada, the Los Angeles team with the best chance to land Leonard this summer is the Clippers, not the Lakers (H/T OddsShark).
Which team will Kawhi Leonard be on for the first game of the 2018-2019 NBA regular season?— OddsShark (@OddsShark) April 25, 2018
Odds via @BovadaLV pic.twitter.com/6i1iOjzQ05
The Lakers still have the fourth-best odds of landing Leonard for their 2018-19 opening night roster, ahead of teams like the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but behind the Philadelphia 76ers, the Clippers and the Spurs, which makes sense.
Both the 76ers and the Clippers can put packages together centered around favorable picks in the upcoming draft and established players. In theory, the Lakers could do the same, but they don’t have the luxury of giving up lottery picks or second-tier NBA starters.
If the Lakers wanted Leonard, they would likely have to give up some combination of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball as well as future draft considerations. For a player that will hit unrestricted free agency in 2019, that’s a hefty price to pay.
Should the Spurs asking price for Leonard be too high, the Lakers are expected to go forth with their plan of pursuing two max free agents this summer. If the Lakers strike out on one of both of their targets, they will have ample room to sign Leonard if he hits the open market the following summer.
You can follow Christian Rivas on Twitter @RadRivas.