‘Pressure mounting’ on Lakers to trade for Kawhi Leonard

Lakers Rumors: LA's Pitch to Sign Paul George Has Been Revealed

On the other hand, the Lakers are apparently feeling pressure to find a way to lure James or George (or both) to Los Angeles. However, the latest Vegas odds have the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers as the favorites to land Leonard. However, Sean Deveney of Sporting News painted a different picture on Wednesday morning, reporting the "league executives aren't so sure" the Lakers must acquire top-end talent from outside the organization before James arrives. The most challenging obstacle could be finding a way to acquire Kawhi Leonard.

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. If other teams want Leonard, then they, too, have to race the Lakers for him.

"Here they have made a huge risk in trading for me, knowing I have one year on my deal", George says of the Thunder. However, Leonard's quadriceps injury along with him becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2019 mean the Celtics likely won't be willing to pay the high price the Spurs demand for their star.

One agent recently suggested to Business Insider that the Spurs should not trade Leonard, barring a mega-offer. Leonard and James would be quite the formidable duo, and there's no doubt they and the rest of the team would reach their full potential under head coach Gregg Popovich. Boston's ability to offer San Antonio future draft picks and promising young players, along with their location in the East, might make the Celtics the Spurs' ideal trade partner.

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.

Making things even trickier is that James wants to make a quick decision about where he's headed next once free agency begins on July 1, per ESPN.

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