They have the bullet of the $219m contract that they could offer him. The Lakers, who have rebuilt over the last three years, likely have the assets to put together a package for Leonard, but it would rob them of their depth and young core.
Free agency begins Saturday at 9:01 p.m. PT, but players can not officially sign until next Friday.
The Lakers could wait it out and not give up too many assets for Leonard, but doing so may cost them James or other big-name free agents.
It is believed that Leonard would prefer to join the Lakers, but nothing is for certain. This is one of several reasons why neither of them may obtain him.
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Conversely, Leonard could also be traded somewhere other than Los Angeles and settle in his new team, as Paul George has done.
As for Embiid and Simmons, it's obvious why they would be excluded from any trade.
The Lakers' acquisition of James has been speculated at great length since last summer. The Los Angeles want to forge a deal with him and the antes are largely high with current conversations as LeBron makes his free agency decision on Friday. "If James signed with LA, he's conceding he won't make the National Basketball Association finals". "Understanding, especially, where my boys are at this point in their age". No team is going to trade promising young players and draft picks for a one-year rental. "So sitting down and considering everything, my family, is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career and it will continue to be that". Redick is a free agent.
James has yet to opt out of his contract in Cleveland, but we all know that's what's going to happen.
However, George could re-sign with Oklahoma City for $176 million for five years.
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George is in a similar situation as James.
The question now becomes which team could offer up the best package in a potential Leonard deal. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the Spurs are fully engaged in trade discussions with both the Lakers and Celtics. It's not about Leonard anymore; they don't have to care about that relationship anymore - just as he doesn't have to care about San Antonio.
Speculation centers around contenders, including the Houston Rockets, Spurs, Lakers, 76ers and Celtics, but James shed no light on his plans in multiple interviews broaching the topic.
A trade to the Lakers.
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