Lakers facing pressure to acquire Kawhi Leonard if they want LeBron

Kawhi Leonard

GETTYKawhi Leonard wants to be traded to the Lakers

When healthy, Leonard has proven to be one of the league's top players, and always seems capable of being in the conversation for the MVP award, which is why it really isn't a surprise to see all these teams expressing interest.

In a report detailing the pressure the Lakers are feeling to add a star like Kawhi Leonard to entice James to join them, ESPN slid in some details about his return to Cleveland.

We don't know what LeBron is going to do, but we know that acquiring Kawhi will make the Lakers a much more attractive destination for The King. Leonard has one more year left on his current deal, which will earn him $21.3 million in 2018-19, and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

San Antonio would prefer to bring back the two-time National Basketball Association defensive player of the year and 2014 Finals MVP, with a contract extension worth over $200 million somewhere on the table, but Leonard distanced himself from the team last season while missing most of it with a mysteriously stubborn thigh injury.

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.

James is expected to choose between the Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. Also a native of Southern California, George has always been thought to be eyeing a chance to join the Lakers, but his time spent with Oklahoma City may have given him second thoughts about leaving Russell Westbrook and Co.

The Spurs are reportedly seeking a "massive package" of young talent and draft picks for Leonard.

If you're trying to maintain the belief that there's bad blood between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, you probably should just give up at this point.

James' unwillingness to commit beyond the 2017-18 season made it challenging for Cavs management to execute a trade for George last summer, because George wanted a James commitment beyond next season to make one of his own, league sources said. As the old saying goes, game recognizes game.

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