Lakers, LeBron James, and the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes

Lakers, LeBron James, and the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes

Lakers, LeBron James, and the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes

But if only one of LeBron and George signs in Los Angeles and the Spurs won't trade Leonard there, that lone Laker could be stuck on a middling team still too young to compete.

In short: the Lakers hope to strike a deal for Leonard before Friday's deadline for player options, when potential free agents LeBron James and Paul George must decide if they'll become free agents or remain with their current clubs. Many believe that they will join forces in Los Angeles, but there is a growing belief around the National Basketball Association that George might end up staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and if that does happen, could change James decision. After spending a season with the team, there's a strong sense George will re-sign with the Thunder. The Spurs were reportedly trying to trade Aldridge in exchange for a top 10 pick in last year's draft. That pick could be used to sweeten a prospective trade opportunity.

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has already established he wants to be traded, multiple reports have confirmed.

From the Lakers' perspective, they might be best off looping in a third team in a trade.

The race for Leonard is on, and if the Spurs play their hand wisely, an ugly situation could end up with them bringing in a haul of assets to jumpstart a rebuild. When a superstar one year away from free agency says he wants out, it usually puts that team up against the wall in making a deal.

Aldridge's relationship with coach Gregg Popovich and Spurs brass has been just as rocky as Leonard's has at times, and it was Aldridge who was on the trade block first.

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