In this game of chicken between the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard, it appears the Spurs are starting to blink. The Lakers, through various scenarios, had been rebuffed in their attempts to acquire the All-Star forward. Spurs officials recently said several times that they would work to repair their relationship with Leonard.
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In response, the Lakers have approached the Denver Nuggets to get multiple assets that would make a trade with the Spurs more enticing.
Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post has a full breakdown of the extended talks. But here is a snippet from part of his post:
“In an attempt to sweeten the pot, multiple sources said the Lakers and Denver Nuggets are discussing a potential deal that would see Los Angeles take back bad money for a draft pick. The Nuggets, who will be deep into the luxury tax after re-signing restricted free agent center Nikola Jokic next month, have about $34 million in expiring contracts for Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and Wilson Chandler to send out in possible deals.”
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The momentum has somewhat to do with Magic Johnson’s ego, but also about landing the big fish in free agency. LeBron James is expected to soon be swimming in those waters. And the Lakers have their eyes set on acquiring his talents. Adding Leonard’s services could prove a compelling argument to James for donning the purple and gold.
And Denver could help facilitate such a trade. They have a bunch of expiring deals that the Lakers could add with additional talent. San Antonio needs expiring contracts that can come off the books next summer for more salary cap space. Future first round picks and or proven talent could also be added to help sweeten a deal with the Spurs.
Talks between San Antonio and Los Angeles seems to be centered around Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. However, more names could be added in the mix should the Spurs continue playing hardball. Expect to hear more news within the coming days.