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According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne, and Brian Windhorst, there is mounting pressure for the Los Angeles Lakers to trade for Leonard before free agency starts on July 1.

Later, Deveney does note that "it would be the preference of James to know with whom he will play before he signs" but the idea that he would be even be willing to land with the Lakers without assurances from a player like George or Leonard is noteworthy to say the least. The Lakers, the franchise that Leonard wants to be traded to, did not have a good initial conversation with the Spurs, ESPN reported recently.

By no means does this indicate Boston is out of the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes.

Everyone is excited about LeBron James becoming a free agent, but look at this pitch the Los Angeles Lakers are making to Paul George.

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While James and Leonard teaming up would make the Lakers instant championship contenders, the Spurs are reportedly asking for a significant return.

Acquiring a player with the skill set of Leonard certainly won't be easy since the Sixers would most likely have to give a lot up in a potential trade, but if it gives them a better chance of competing in the Eastern Conference, it may be worth the risk. That could drive up the price for Leonard, an unusual scenario for a player so close to free agency (and coming off an injury that cost him 73 games last season).

The latest ESPN story suggested that former first-round pick Josh Hart could be involved in a trade with the Spurs. The agent reasoned that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich only wants to compete for championships, and keeping Leonard helps him accomplish that, regardless of Leonard's wishes.

Cleveland has also been linked to George, as well as All-Star point guard Chris Paul, although like the rest of the league, appears to be in a holding pattern until James makes his free agency decision. That could play into the patient strategy Johnson is professing, but the Lakers may have to push their chips to the center of the table much sooner than they might prefer, if they want to make James's Friday decision that much easier.


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