Ric Bucher of the Bleacher Report stated a few weeks ago that “The big fish that Jeanie Buss wants is Kawhi”. Kawhi Leonard has been linked to Los Angeles ever since he requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs last summer.
Once Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors, the two teams in Los Angeles were the favorites to land him in free agency this summer.
The bigger question is why does Jeanie Buss want Kawhi Leonard over Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Klay Thompson. Jeanie Buss has probably listened to the rumors and no other free agent has considered the Lakers outside of Kawhi Leonard. Last summer when Kawhi requested a trade, the Lakers were on his list as one of the teams he would re-sign within 2019. This was before he knew that LeBron James would sign with the Lakers a few months later. The San Antonio Spurs were reluctant to consider a trade with the Lakers for Leonard. Lakers management refused to trade any of the young pieces for Kawhi Leonard and instead figured they could sign him this summer as a free agent.
Before the season it felt like Kawhi Leonard would sign with the Lakers this summer but the other team in Los Angeles has emerged as the favorite to land Leonard this summer. The Clippers are a better team at the moment than the Lakers and are more stabilized than the Lakers. The Clippers also have the greatest mind in the history of basketball in Jerry West. West recruited Kevin Durant to the Warriors during his stint in Golden State. He can recruit Kawhi Leonard better than the Lakers can at the moment.
Also, rumors throughout the year said that Kawhi Leonard would not want to join LeBron James. James brings a lot of media attention to any team that he’s on and Leonard is a quiet guy who would love to play basketball and win without all the drama throughout the year.
Jeanie Buss clearly wants Kawhi Leonard because he is a dominant player on both ends of the floor. In the Playoffs, Kawhi Leonard is averaging 30.7 ppg 7.3 rpg 1.3 spg on 58.4% and 51.5% on 3 point shots. Leonard is just 27 years old and has his best years ahead of him.
Pairing Leonard with James would give the Lakers a legitimate shot to contend for the NBA championship next season. Leonard wants to be in Los Angeles and the battle for which team has the best scenario for him moving forward starts on July 1st.
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