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RUMOR: Los Angeles Lakers confident they’ll land Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard in free agency

Kawhi Leonard, Lakers

The San Antonio Spurs finally pulled the trigger on a trade that sent All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors in a blockbuster deal that landed them All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan.

This has also shifted in the direction of the Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in landing the 27-year old as there has been a growing notion that he has a strong desire to make his way over the city. With that in mind, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report is reporting that the Lakers are still quite confident that they can land him in free agency.

Los Angeles has stayed on this course in the last several weeks with the Spurs continuing to hold a high asking price for Leonard eyeing to acquire several of their young promising talents in Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart along with a couple of first-round selections.

Given the perceived strong desire from Leonard to join the Lakers, it has halted them from going all out to make a lucrative offer to Spurs, which allowed for the Raptors to swoop to acquire the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. On top of that, Los Angeles has James under contract for at least the next three years in his four-year, $153 million deal.

All of this doesn’t mean for the Lakers to push back to make a move to lose out some young talent if Leonard truly wants to sign with them next summer. This should allow them to see how their young core further develops and plays alongside James to see if they are key pieces to the puzzle for the long haul. Only time will tell if this approach taken by Los Angeles will work out in their favor or potentially backfire on them like it did with All-star forward Paul George.