Spurs and Lakers believe Kawhi Leonard trade clinches LeBron to LA

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The Los Angeles Lakers are said to be making a push to land Kawhi Leonard in a trade, apparently believing that doing so could help them get LeBron James in free agency. James has until 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday night to exercise the one-year player option remaining on his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

On June 15, Yahoo Sports reported that Leonard, 26, wanted to be traded from the Spurs organization, and trade talks with San Antonio regarding Leonard reportedly picked up steam Thursday, with the Lakers expressing interest in a deal.

Last month, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor quoted multiple National Basketball Association executives as saying San Antonio would not settle for anything less than a "grand-slam" offer for Leonard.

In addition, they could add in the draft rights of their No. 25 pick in last week's draft, Moritz Wagner, while they are also pursuing an additional first-round pick. Nobody knows how Leonard will play next year as trading for him would be too risky. George is from Palmdale, California, northwest of Los Angeles, and Leonard is from Riverside, 88km east. However, the Spurs are insisting on a much bigger haul than the Lakers are offering.

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As for the discussions held Wednesday, Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli said a source described the call as "productive". Free agency is only a few days away and several free-agent veterans have already voiced their opinions about what their plans are.

The Celtics are one of the National Basketball Association teams in the league who has a plethora of trade assets that can convince the Spurs to engage in a blockbuster deal. That incentives the Lakers even further - in a way that doesn't apply to Philadelphia - to trade for him.

The Cavaliers can re-sign James, but they don't have the salary-cap flexibility to sign other free agents in order to upgrade their roster.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year had been cleared to return by the Spurs' medical staff but he didn't believe he was 100 percent healthy and sought a second opinion. Lopez, Randle and Caldwell-Pope all played a significant role for Los Angeles last season, starting a combined 195 games.

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