The Los Angeles Lakers are going to face some stiff competition for Kawhi Leonard this summer as the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly contacted the San Antonio Spurs about a possible trade, according to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com. The Cavs are also expected to pursue a trade for Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, per Vardon’s report:
“Cleveland has in fact inquired about Kawhi Leonard’s availability from the Spurs , among others, and league sources suggested Charlotte’s Kemba Walker could be in play for the Cavs.”
While it’s unlikely the Cavaliers have the assets to pull off a trade for both Leonard and Walker, landing just one might make LeBron James second guess leaving Cleveland for a second time.
Outside of Cleveland, few teams have the assets necessary to pair James with two All-Star players this summer. Luckily, the Lakers are one of those teams.
Thanks to the Cavaliers taking on Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., the Lakers will have enough cap space to sign James and another max-tier free agent like Paul George, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and to a lesser extent, DeMarcus Cousins. If they wanted to add a third All-Star to the mix like Walker or Leonard, who reportedly wants to play in Los Angeles next season, they could feasibly do so via the trade market.
The Lakers are considered odds-on favorites to land both Leonard and James as of this month, according to Bovada. They have also been favorites to land George for the past several months now. As a result, their odds of winning a championship next season have increased substantially.
James will hit unrestricted free agency on July 1 if (read: when) he declines his player option before the June 29 deadline. Signing James alone would be a home run for the Lakers this summer, but if James is coming to Los Angeles, it’s safe to bet on him bringing some friends too.
You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.