Rumor: Lakers could pass on LeBron James, pursue Kawhi Leonard next summer instead
The Los Angeles Lakers could be shifting their plans to take a shot at two max-level free agents this offseason and set their eyes toward next summer, as LeBron James is unlikely to be as heavily pursued as previously thought.
An NBA agent thinks the Lakers have made a change of heart, knowing Kawhi Leonard is very much an option, one seven years younger and with many more years left in his prime.
“He’s not going to the Lakers, because they know they can get Kawhi [Leonard] next summer,” the agent told Ken Berger of Bleacher Report.
That same agent also deemed his chances of ending up with the Philadelphia 76ers slim, due to the a conflict in play style that would take the ball out of rookie Ben Simmons’ hands and onto his.
“If I’m the Sixers, I have to think about what it means to bring in LeBron and take the ball out of Ben Simmons’ hands,” said the agent. “Simmons is useless when he’s not controlling the ball. Is LeBron going to give up the ball?”
The agent’s points are valid, but the Lakers could be taking a massive risk by letting this chance slip by if things between Leonard’s management and the San Antonio Spurs actually get fixed by some point during the next season.
Leonard is rumored to want to wind up in his hometown of Los Angeles, but the Spurs hold all the power this offseason, even if they could be forced to trade him if both parties get to a point of irreconcilable differences.