NBA free agency is still four days away, but that has not stopped the trade winds from swirling. This summer’s free agency period is fixated on where LeBron James and Paul George will land.
Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers are both in the market for the services of James and George. If the Sixers cannot somehow land James, disgruntled San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard could become a viable trade option for them.
According to a new report from Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelbourne, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Sixers along with three other teams have made trade offers to the Spurs for Leonard. However, as it has already been reported, Leonard preferably wants to go the Lakers.
The trio of reporters also mentioned that the Lakers are receiving pressure to acquire Leonard before James thinks about committing to signing with them.
In terms of Philadelphia’s side of the equation, they do not have two max contract slots to offer like Los Angeles does. This automatically disqualifies them from going with the potential James-George combination.
But they do have the assets to make a better trade offer than the Lakers. The Sixers could hypothetically offer a package of Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and the 2021 first-round pick via the Miami Heat that they acquired in last week’s draft.
Now that would be a lot to give up for a player that could still walk away in free agency next summer. To lessen this hypothetical blow, the Sixers and head coach Brett Brown would have to come to some sort of a verbal agreement with Leonard’s camp on an extension.
The ESPN reporters also said in their story that the Lakers have expressed a willingness to other teams take on 2018-19 salary in exchange for a future first-round pick.
If the Lakers could get that pick plus package it with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma, the Spurs might consider it.
However, the Sixers’ package would be better as they have two established NBA players and a pick from Miami that could be in the lottery.
It should be interesting to see how everything plays out between Leonard, the Lakers, James, and the Sixers over the next few days. Everybody is connected with each other and whoever makes the first move could change the NBA landscape next season.