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Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs re-engage in Kawhi Leonard trade talks

Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs re-engage in Kawhi Leonard trade talks

A day after Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson exuded confidence beyond the expectations of many, ESPN reported pressure is mounting on Johnson and the Lakers' front office to make a deal for San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

For now, the urgency of the Lakers' free-agent push for LeBron James and Paul George on Sunday places a clock on talks with the Spurs. 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.

LeBron could decide that he doesn't have to wait on the Lakers to clear cap space and trade for Kawhi if he wants to play for Kawhi.

Assessing Leonard's value at this point is fairly hard, but no doubt San Antonio is doing all they can to make sure they are well-compensated for his services. They'd help if the Spurs want to remain competitive after trading Leonard.

The stakes on these talks are enormous, because a deal for Leonard would likely clinch a free agent commitment out of LeBron James.

The Lakers have also floated a deal with the Nuggets to be part of a three-way trade that could send Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur or Wilson Chandler - who are all on expiring deals - to the Spurs in exchange for the Lakers taking on bad contracts, according to the report.

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.

Acquired via trade on February 23, 2017, Ennis averaged 5.2 points, 2.1 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 76 games (13 starts) for the Lakers.

Durant also has an opt-out clause he is expected to exercise, but he would shock the league if he did anything other than sign a lucrative contract to return to Golden State.

The Lakers may do massive things in free agency in the next week or two. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago (when he returned to Cleveland after four seasons with the Miami Heat). The Celtics were only one win away from making the NBA Finals as they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. He played in just nine games this past season because of the quad problem, and questions about whether he could and should have played more strained his relationship with the Spurs.

But the Lakers have Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball (who'd probably have to be conveyed to a third team) to forma package.