LeBron James Destination Could Rest In The Spurs Hands

If Kawhi Leonard Is Moved To The Lakers, LeBron James Would Likely Follow Suit

Reiter Than You
June 30, 2018 - 3:15 pm
LeBron James and Gregg Popovich

USA Today Images


As NBA free agency looms, the San Antonio Spurs hold all cards. 

With LeBron James officially opting out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers, all eyes will turn to his free agency. Although many analysts believe James is destined to end up in Los Angeles, Kawhi Leonard's fate in San Antonio could be the deciding factor in where James decides to play. 

Casey Stern of NBA TV joined the Reiter Than You Podcast on Thursday to discuss the NBA offseason and LeBron James' impending decision. 

"If the Lakers can make a deal for Kawhi, he (LeBron James) is going to be a Laker. He may be anyway, but he definitely will be if they (The Lakers) can a make deal for Kawhi," Stern said. "LeBron wants to go to the Lakers, but he does not want to be the first guy...The problem for LeBron is there are other teams involved for Kawhi too and I don't think Gregg Popovich is in a rush to send Kawhi to the Lakers."

The drama surrounding Kawhi Leonard over the past few months has dampened the previously pristine reputation of the Spurs organization. Leonard’s health and the uncertainty surrounding the legitimacy of his injury may raise concerns among organizations looking to strike a deal for the star forward.

“I think they should be concerned but I think it ended up being a case of more where he got annoyed with a diagnosis and the handling. It was more of a he said he said, almost stubbornness to a point,” Stern said.

If the Lakers are able to acquire LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and possibly Paul George, who recently opted out of his contract with the Thunder, they will immediately be touted as the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, though Stern noted a strong supporting cast will need to be built around the stars.

“A lot of it to me comes to down to who’s on the rest of the roster. What if they (The Spurs) want Ingram and Kuzma and multiple picks? So, who’s on the bench?” Stern said.  “How much money do you actually have to spend on anyone else to get depth on this roster? Three players alone can’t beat the Warriors.”

Though there is no guarantee that Leonard is traded from San Antonio, a potential deal with the Lakers could start a domino effect of free agents choosing Los Angeles.