After days of speculation, fruitless prognostication and hair-pulling, we finally have our first realistic offer from the Los Angeles Lakers to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has the details.
“The Lakers are willing to include former No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram and a future first-round pick in a package for Leonard, but the Spurs are seeking a far more complete haul of Lakers young players and future picks, league sources said.”
However, there are conflicting reports on just how willing the Lakers are to include Ingram:
Regarding Lakers-Spurs discussions. Things have been in the conceptual lane thus far. Ingram’s name has been in discussions but more as a player Spurs covet.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 28, 2018
There's also a difference between being willing to include him and actually making an offer that includes him. When push comes to shove, would they trade Ingram if that's what it took to get Leonard? I believe so.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) June 29, 2018
So it’s unclear what’s really being offered, but what is clear is that the Spurs were never going to get full value for Leonard given everything at work in this situation. They can’t start training camp with him on their roster. His camp is apparently telling teams to stay away because he wants to be a Laker, if not now then at the very least next summer, when he becomes a free agent. Plus, Leonard missed most of last season with a mysterious injury no one really knows is fully-healed.
San Antonio has done all they can to gain any leverage at all, but it might wind up being a fruitless endeavor. The league seems to know how this is going to play out and, unlike with the Paul George situation last year, Leonard doesn’t seem even open to the idea of playing somewhere other than Los Angeles.
Even on that front, now that the Clippers used both their lottery picks in this latest NBA Draft, their assets are greatly diminished, leaving only the Lakers (and possibly the Boston Celtics) with the right combination of assets and intrigue from Leonard and his camp to make a deal work.
From the Lakers’ side of all this, it’s hard not to feel like Ingram should be enough to get a deal done. Anything beyond him and the rumored future first seems like too much given everything outlined above. Maybe they hold out and see if they can’t also move Deng’s salary as part of a bigger deal, but this feels like where things seem to be heading.
With LeBron James reportedly monitoring this situation, getting a deal done now (so long as it only costs this much) would seem to make sense for both sides.
I discussed this with Matt Moore of The Action Network at length on today’s Locked on Lakers. The full conversation can be heard here: