REPORT: Lakers looking to deal with Nuggets in order to set up Kawhi Leonard Spurs trade
The Los Angeles Lakers have ramped up their efforts in the last couple of days towards working a deal out with the San Antonio Spurs for All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard. However, that was met with the Spurs putting a high asking price on Leonard in order for a trade to be feasible.
In response to that, the Lakers have reportedly reached out to the Denver Nuggets to acquire additional assets in order to make a more appealing trade offer to San Antonio to pry away the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, according to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
In an attempt to sweeten the pot, multiple sources said the Lakers and Denver Nuggets are discussing a potential deal that would see Los Angeles take back bad money for a draft pick. The Nuggets, who will be deep into the luxury tax after re-signing restricted free agent center Nikola Jokic next month, have about $34 million in expiring contracts for Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and Wilson Chandler to send out in possible deals.
Los Angeles has pushed up their increased effort to land Leonard to help field a more compelling roster for LeBron James to consider joining if he does enter free agency. Denver has plenty of possible pieces that the team could use to make a better trade offer with the addition of another first-round draft pick or proven talent. They have a few expire deals that could come in handy in terms being contracts that San Antonio can have off the books next summer for more salary cap space to operate with to add talent.
The Lakers have already begun to re-engage in trade talks with the Spurs that the two sides have had some productive talks with the basis a deal leaning on third-year forward Brandon Ingram along with a pair of future first-round picks. San Antonio is reportedly looking for more if any deal is to be heavily considered.
What this should signal at this point in time is that the Lakers are ramping up their concerted efforts in trying to land Leonard this summer, and especially within the next day or two.