Report: ‘Pressure mounting’ on Lakers to trade for Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs routed the Lakers 119-98 on Sunday in Los Angeles' first home game since Magic Johnson took over the franchise's basketball operations (Jae C. Hong/AP)

In the latest twist to the Kawhi Leonard saga, ESPN is reporting that “pressure is mounting” on the Los Angeles Lakers to make a deal to acquire the disgruntled San Antonio Spurs all-NBA forward.

According to ESPN reporters Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, the Lakers’ front office is feeling the heat to make a move to bring Leonard into the fold before LeBron James makes a decision to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday. James can do so by opting out of his current deal. This would presumably make the Lakers’ pitch to LeBron that much more enticing.

It’s been reported before that Los Angeles is Leonard’s preferred trade destination – with the Lakers being the favoured landing spot over the Clippers – so it makes sense that Lakers president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka would be in hot pursuit of Leonard.

However, despite the apparent mutual interest between Leonard and the Lakers, that doesn’t mean the Spurs are necessarily interested in doing a deal and are, according to ESPN Deportes’ Alvaro Martin, in no rush to deal Leonard before next season’s trade deadline.

This report also coincides with the latest from Wojnarowski, Shelburne and Windhorst, as they reported that the Spurs recently “shut the door” on the Lakers in a recent negotiation.

In that same report, it was also revealed that the Cleveland Cavaliers, James’ current team, made inquiries about Leonard, but it’s unlikely he will end up in Ohio since the Cavaliers don’t have the kind of assets that a player of his calibre would command in a trade.

Leonard, 26, has been a two-time All-NBA First Team selection, was twice Defensive Player of the Year and was Finals MVP in 2014.

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