Stephen A. Smith says the Lakers are very much in play for Kawhi.
The Los Angeles Lakers created $32 million in salary cap space on Thursday, enough to offer a max contract, by trading away Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards as part of the Anthony Davis deal with New Orleans. Davis also waived his $4.1M trade kicker, allowing the Lakers achieve their goal of being able to sign a third superstar to play alongside AD and LeBron James.
Enter: Two-time NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Kawhi is now “seriously considering” signing with the Lakers as a free agent. Of course, recent reports have also suggested that Leonard is “seriously considering” returning to the NBA champion Toronto Raptors – all of which leaves the Los Angeles Clippers feeling “very, very nervous,” as Stephen A. puts it.
Shortly after the Lakers opened up max contract cap space, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that Kawhi will meet with the Lakers and Clippers once free agency opens at 6pm ET on Sunday, June 30. Leonard will also allow the Raptors the opportunity to meet with him last, before making his final decision.
Leonard, 27, is eligible to sign a five-year, $190 million supermax contract with the Raptors, while other teams, like the Lakers and Clippers, can offer a max of four-years, $140.6 million. The three-time All Star averaged 26.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in the regular season while leading Toronto to its first NBA title this past season.