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LeBron James ‘hesitant’ to sign with Lakers without Kawhi Leonard

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The Lakers reportedly might have to trade for Kawhi Leonard to lure LeBron James in free agency.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

In recent days, it’s been pretty quiet on the Kawhi Leonard front for the Los Angeles Lakers, who have likely shifted their focus to the upcoming free agency moratorium period on July 1. However, a recent report suggests that the Lakers should be more concerned about trading for Leonard, as it could influence the decision made by LeBron James in free agency.

According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, James is “hesitant” to the be the first, and possibly only, superstar to join Los Angeles this summer:

“As LeBron James remains hesitant to be the first superstar to decide on the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, pressure is mounting for the Lakers front office to execute a trade with the San Antonio Spurs to acquire disgruntled All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, league sources told ESPN.”

The report also refuted an earlier report saying the Spurs are unwilling to trade Leonard to a Western Conference rival like the Lakers:

“While the Lakers came away feeling like San Antonio “shut the door on us” and the conversation never progressed or included a former trade offer, the Spurs haven’t ruled out on sending Leonard to any destination, league sources said.”

James has until Friday afternoon to decide whether or not he’s going to pick up his player option for the 2018-19 season worth $35.6 million. While the belief is that he’ll decline it either before or at the deadline, James is reportedly still undecided.

At 33 years old, it makes sense that James wouldn’t want to sign with the Lakers and build something from the ground again. However, if James has been in contact with George, like he was rumored to be planning on, that shouldn’t be a concern of his.

James is expected to make his decision before July 4. If Leonard is really the guy James wants, then the clock is ticking for Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and Co. to make a move for the former Defensive of the Player of the Year.


You can follow Christian on Twitter @RadRivas.