Report: Lakers to Pursue Kawhi Leonard in Free Agency

by June 17, 2019
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The blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis was just the start of the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason hunt for prized NBA talent.

Kawhi Leonard, an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, is also reportedly on the Purple and Gold’s radar.

In an effort to provide LeBron James with the best possible and most star-studded supporting cast, the Lakers are expected to after All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, but fellow free agent Kyrie Irving may be out of reach.

Per The Ringer:

The Lakers have a lot more work to do, of course. According to The New York Times’ Marc Stein, Kemba Walker will be their top free-agent target. (Don’t bank on Kyrie Irving reuniting with LeBron. League sources fully expect him to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.)

Kemba would have to give up $80.7 million guaranteed, without factoring in taxes, to leave Charlotte for Los Angeles. Walker has two choices: He can re-sign with the Hornets for $221.3 million over five years and spend the next five years fighting for the 8-seed in the East, or he can sign with the Lakers for $140.6 million over four years and compete for championships.

To even have a shot at Walker—or any other pricey free agent—the Lakers will have to wait to officially complete this deal. If it were to go through before July 6, the Lakers wouldn’t be able to create the $32.7 million necessary to sign Walker or another max free agent, such as Kawhi Leonard, who league sources say the Lakers will pursue.

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