Lakers, 76ers believe landing Kawhi Leonard is key to signing LeBron James

Cavaliers forward Le Bron James talks with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson during the first half of the NBA All Star basketball game in New Orleans Sunday Feb. 19 2017

Lakers, 76ers believe landing Kawhi Leonard is key to signing LeBron James

Will two of the stars team up? Could they all remain with the teams with which they played last season?

According to a league source close to the matter, Leonard expressed his deep cravings to play alongside the veteran superstar in 2018-19 National Basketball Association season. As tonight displayed, of course not. Kemba Walker is about as good of a player that the Cavs could conceivably acquire this offseason.

Even though Paul George chose to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, there is a still a big-name, two-way wing who could be had for the Los Angeles Lakers in Kawhi Leonard.

ESPN reports that the Lakers are weighing how much to give up for Leonard, who, it has been reported, wants to be traded to the Lakers and eventually plans to sign with them when he becomes a free agent in 2019. Therefore, the Lakers thought they had little incentive to trade for him.

"The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family", James told reporters after the Cavaliers lost to the Warriors in the NBA Finals earlier this month.

George is in a similar situation as James.

George will be an unrestricted free agent in July and while he admitted playing in his native state would be "attractive", he has also hinted he would like to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, claiming the team "checked all the boxes".

According to reports, Philly has left Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz off the table in any trade talks with San Antonio thus far.

But winning a title next season might not be George's only motivation.

The Lakers are pursuing an additional first-round pick on the trade market too, offering to incur a salary dump of contracts to get a pick, league sources said. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers continue to show interest in the former NBA Finals MVP. As long as he is under the Spurs' control, he must play by their rules.

As for Leonard and the Spurs, it appears as though their relationship is beyond fix.

James isn't expected to attend the meeting, which is the first significant chance for the 76ers to make case a free-agent case to James, league sources said.

If the Spurs want a lot, the Lakers should offer just that. Philadelphia has the combination of unproven prospects, draft picks and capable players that might be able to get a deal done.

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