The Los Angeles Lakers are hell-bent on acquiring Kawhi Leonard, especially in light of their increasing uncertainty about Paul George’s free-agency decision. The Lakers are in pursuit of a first-round pick, which, if acquired, they would hope to use as a trade chip in a package for Leonard, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst:
The price for Leonard would be substantial. The Lakers could have to surrender a combination of former first-round picks — from Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — and future first-round picks and perhaps restricted free agent Julius Randle in a sign-and-trade agreement.
The Lakers have expressed a willingness to teams to take on 2018-19 salary for the chance to secure a future first-round pick, league sources said. That pick could be used to sweeten a prospective trade opportunity.
The Lakers own their own 2019 first-round draft pick, but that pick would lose value if they were acquiring a game-changing player like Kawhi Leonard in exchange for it, especially since netting Leonard could potentially tip the LeBron James scales in their favor.
There are plenty of teams out there that want to shed salary, so the Lakers might find a suitor. The Lakers already have one bad contract of their own, however, in the form of Luol Deng.