As the NBA offseason begins to ramp up for most teams, the Los Angeles Lakers are busy at work preparing for what may be a busy summer.
The team is preparing for the 2018 NBA Draft where they will likely select two players to join their young core. The Lakers’ free agency plans are also well known, but the organization may also be keeping a keen eye on potential trades.
The most likely target in a blockbuster move would be Kawhi Leonard. The superstar forward and the San Antonio Spurs have reportedly soured in their relationship and the former Defensive Player of the Year may be looking towards greener pastures in a bigger market.
Trading for Leonard would come with risks. The former Finals MVP was sidelined for almost the entirety of the 2017-18 season with a mysterious injury. Additionally, he will be a free agent in 2019, making him a potentially expensive rental.
Nevertheless, the Lakers seem to be open to the idea as the LA Times’ Tania Ganguli reports that no player on the Lakers is truly “untouchable.”
“To be clear, the Lakers are not actively shopping any of their players. They are willing to listen to offers and could move one of them — even a member of the talented young cadre of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — if an offer blows them away.”
This may seem like a no-brainer but the Lakers’ front office has spoken highly of Ingram, Ball, and Kuzma, to the point that most believe those players will not be moved anytime soon.
That said, this report does not have to mean that the Lakers are anxious to move their young stars. With reports that the Spurs need to be “blown away” in a potential trade for Leonard, it’s difficult to see the two sides come to a compromise, especially if the Lakers do not have a guarantee of signing another star free agent to join Leonard in LA. Pair that with the recent reports that the Lakers are confident in their abilities to potentially sign Leonard in 2019 and the odds of a trade with San Antonio become increasingly lower.
What’s clear is that the Lakers are all in on finding quick fixes and competing for the playoffs. While the team has spoken about patience and not making hasty decisions, it’s also evident they will not be idly standing by this offseason.