The longer this summer plays out without the Los Angeles Lakers adding another star to team up with LeBron James, the less likely that’s going to happen prior to the start of next season.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has noted recently that every move this offseason outside of signing James was with an eye on next year’s free agent class. That includes signing veterans Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee to one-year contracts.
Previously linked to Kawhi Leonard a whole lot, it’s now looking like the Lakers are taking a back seat in trade discussions.
On his recent podcast, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Los Angeles has shown no real sense of urgency in making a move for Leonard.
“To this point in trade discussions, the Lakers have not shown a sense of urgency to make a Kawhi Leonard trade,” the NBA insider reported.
Outside of the narrative that the Lakers need to make another big move, this has pretty much been the team’s MO. James was their big fish this summer. And they are not going to mortgage the future in a trade when next summer’s free agent class is absolutely stacked.
It was previously noted that San Antonio was demanding Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and multiple first-round picks for Leonard (more on that here).
If so, we don’t blame the Lakers for not wanting to pull the trigger.
The question here is two-fold. Does Los Angeles believe it can sign Leonard outright next summer? Does it have a reasonable chance to compete for a title with the Golden State Warriors by simply adding Leonard to the mix? At this point, it’s all about a long-term vision. Trading those assets for Leonard makes no real sense.