In the NBA, when a player shoots his shot regardless of the likelihood that it will go in, that player is said to have “irrational confidence.” And going into free agency, it appears that the Los Angeles Lakers have all of the irrational confidence in the world when it comes to their shot at Kawhi Leonard.
In spite of the reports that have consistently said that Leonard won’t consider the Lakers in free agency, the team has been operating under the assumption that he will even before they pulled off the blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via The Bill Simmons Podcast):
“The Lakers, even before they got Anthony Davis, the Lakers were quietly insisting that they were in the Kawhi Leonard hunt, that ‘you media people don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and we’re right there in the mix for Kawhi.’ So I guess we have to see. They have a chance in five days to prove us wrong. We’ve all thought it was Raptors or Clippers only for Kawhi. The Lakers think they’re in there. I guess we’ll see.”
And just in case there was any doubt about what he said, Stein tweeted it from his personal account later in the day on Tuesday:
The Lakers have believed for weeks -- even before they acquired Anthony Davis -- that they would factor into the Kawhi Leonard chase. This has been widely billed as a two-team race between the Clippers and Toronto, but the Lakers' chance to hush their skeptics is fast approaching— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019
Of course, the Lakers will face some stiff competition from their cross-stadium rivals, the LA Clippers, who have been considered the favorites to land Leonard alongside the Raptors for several months now. However, as the June 30 moratorium date creeps closer, it seems as though Leonard will at least consider the Lakers, and if he does, it sounds like the team has been ready for a while.