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NBA Trade Rumors: Spurs ‘ready’ to deal Kawhi Leonard, ‘fully engaged’ in trade talks with Lakers, Celtics

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The NBA trade rumors about Kawhi Leonard have been endless, but it appears the Spurs are getting closer to prepared for them to be over, and possibly to send Leonard to the Lakers or Celtics.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With LeBron James “watching closely” to see if the Los Angeles Lakers can complete a trade for Kawhi Leonard, it’s understandable that L.A.’s front office would want to get a deal done. It now appears that they might have a willing trade partner, as Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that the Spurs are finally prepared to deal their disgruntled star:

However, the Spurs aren’t necessarily pushing Leonard out just yet:

All of that certainly doesn’t guarantee a deal is imminent, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that talks are getting frothier, with the Boston Celtics also entering the fray. Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express News (who broke the news that Leonard wanted out) also reports that the Philadelphia 76ers and LA Clippers are also options, even if the Lakers are still where Leonard wants to be:

Whether or not the leverage Wojnarowski’s reporting makes it seem like the Spurs have over the Lakers actually exists is a matter of perspective, and depends on how desperate one thinks that the Lakers actually are to get a deal done here.

Update: It appears the Lakers might actually have more desire to get a deal done sooner if rumblings that they’re making a bigger offer are true:

Still, the Lakers’ level of desperation is likely closely tied to how real of offers Boston is making, and how clear it’s been made to them that James actually doesn’t want to be the first star to sign in Los Angeles. If the Celtics are actually a risk to trade for Leonard and James actually won’t come without him already being in place, then the Lakers do likely have a sense of urgency in these talks.

It’s not totally clear that James actually won’t come without Leonard, because not wanting to be the first star in the building doesn’t necessarily mean that Leonard has to beat James in there. The Lakers could also target Paul Georgewho just opted out of his contract — to pair with James, which could reduce the pressure on the team to acquire Leonard and potentially hamstring the Spurs’ efforts to get as many assets as possible in a trade.

Getting George and James in free agency, however, might make it more difficult to eventually get Leonard once teams have used up their cap space and it’s harder to find a potential taker for Luol Deng, if the Spurs weren’t willing to absorb him.

The point is that this whole situation is fluid right now, but it seems to be rapidly building towards some sort of resolution, whether it’s Leonard being dealt to the Lakers or Celtics, or the Spurs taking him off of the table for a while.

You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.