NBA Rumors: Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler do not want to team with LeBron James on the Lakers

Oct 2, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) looks on against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Lakers were able to lure LeBron James away from his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers back in free agency, many started to question which star player would join him in purple and gold.

After Paul George elected to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the odds of James choosing the Lakers appeared slim. Most people assumed the Lakers would need another star to commit first before James would join such a young team that had just come off a 35-47 season. But when James shockingly chose Los Angeles, fans started looking ahead to the star-studded 2019 free agency class.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, two marquee names in that free agent class may not be too keen on joining James in purple and gold next summer (h/t Silver Screen and Roll).

There are whispers around the league that neither Jimmy Butler nor Kawhi Leonard wants to play with LeBron, and sources I’ve talked to would be shocked if Klay Thompson left Golden State.

This is really the first time we have heard of Leonard not wanting to be in Los Angeles. His camp has been adamant that they will find a way to end up in Los Angeles, either as a Laker or a Clipper. There has been history with Butler reportedly wanting to be a Laker, but seemingly nothing concrete. He still reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but who knows exactly how that situation will play out.

Lakers fans listened to reports and rumors for over a full calendar year that George was determined to become a Laker, only for him to not even give them a meeting in free agency. Rumors should always be taken with a grain of salt, and this rumor is no exception. Even if it were true, so much can change in a year, as we saw play out with George.

If the Lakers are as successful as many people expect them to be this season, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they are not a very attractive destination to free agents. But we won’t really know anything for about another eight months or so. Let’s play some games before we worry about free agency.

You can follow this author on Twitter @garykester.

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