Two online sports betting sites - Bovada and Bookmaker - both set the Lakers as the team most likely to get Leonard. Los Angeles' odds opened at 20-1. Magic Johnson does not want to lose out in Leonard to the Celtics and Danny Ainge does not want to lose out in Leonard to the Lakers, the only one that can decide the victor will be none other than Gregg Popovich. However, now is a chance for the Raptors, under new head coach Nick Nurse, to create a new look team featuring Kawhi Leonard.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that he wants to play in his hometown of Los Angeles and preferably represent the Lakers. However, Leonard can stay in San Antonio and accept a max contract worth $219 million and has yet to meet with Gregg Popovich as he has grown frustrated with how the Spurs have handled his quad injury. Therefore, the Heat are not allowed to trade their 2019, 2020, or 2022 first-round pick because they already traded their 2018 and 2021 first-round selections to the Phoenix Suns in the trade that brought Dragic to Miami. Both Leonard and James could then become free agents after the 2018-19 season.
Leonard, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, has played all seven of his National Basketball Association seasons with the Spurs since they acquired him on his draft night, after the Indiana Pacers took him 15th overall in 2011. After going through a five-year rebuilding stretch, this summer was circled by many fans as the summer in which the Lakers would return to showtime. Magic is also trying to attract other free agents like Lebron James and Paul George.
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The Celtics reportedly probed the Spurs about a possible trade for Leonard in February.
A person familiar with the situation says Leonard has told the Spurs that he would like to be traded this summer, the clearest sign yet that the relationship between the team and the All-Star is in disrepair.
And the Lakers may either not have enough in trade assets to get the Spurs to send them Leonard, or if they do might decimate their stash of role players to the point where the impact of a James-Leonard-George union could be mitigated. They'll want to hear it directly from the source before giving away a superstar-caliber player like Kawhi.