According to a former National Basketball Association team executive, the Los Angeles Lakers might be among the top candidates in the Cousins sweepstakes, though that would also mean choosing only one of the three players most frequently mentioned as potential new additions to the team – LeBron James, Paul George, or Kawhi Leonard.
The Warriors’ recruitment was led by Green, who has a strong relationship with Cousins, and general manager Bob Myers, and it included a positive phone call between Cousins and coach Steve Kerr, league sources said.
Lakers president Magic Johnson has a hard decision to make in trading for Kawhi Leonard.
“The Lakers were unsure if they needed to get Kawhi or not”, Windhorst said. There’s a chance the race gets pushed forward quickly in the coming days if the Lakers become desperate and offer a treasure trove to the Spurs.
San Antonio is not going to let Leonard go easily, even if he doesn’t want to play for the Spurs much longer.
What will L.A. offer?
If Leonard will actually sit out the season, though, it takes some leverage away from San Antonio.
The Spurs have no reason to give into this demand, or hide from the drama.
As far as the answer to the latter question goes, the situation is slightly more complicated. “Their mentality is that Kawhi Leonard wants to be a Laker”.
As of July 2, over 24 hours into the start of free agency, the Spurs have not traded Leonard. But, that doesn’t mean the Lakers won’t keep trying. Conversely, being able to field the two next season would nearly immediately turn the Lakers from a 35-win team into a force to be reckoned with.
The Lakers had also expressed interest in signing Cousins, according to multiple reports.
With LeBron James officially in tow, the Lakers now look towards the rest of the roster and which players they could add to make a run at a title this season. Los Angeles considered itself a lock to sign 2018 free agent Paul George when his former team, the Indiana Pacers, traded him last summer. In Philadelphia, the 33-year-old James could move into a new phase of his career, serving as a mentor on a rising team rather than a savior for his hometown squad in Cleveland.