Jae C. Hong / Associated Press
It seems that the misfortunes suffered by other teams are still working to help the Los Angeles Lakers.
First, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers predictably fell in the NBA Finals, stimulating the idea that he might end up leaving. The Lakers, who are no longer a rung in free agency thanks to the solid construction, seem to be one of the favorites.
Then there's the recent disaster of Kawhi Leonard. Days ago, it seemed that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich would be able to act as the top gunner, easing tensions between the organization and one of the best players in the league.
Now the Lakers have to be salivating thinking about the possibilities.
Just in time, the Lakers appeared as destiny No. 1:
Adrian Wojnarowski @ wojespn
Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio has Los Angeles – preferably the Lakers – in the center of your preferences for a commercial destination, the sources of the league tell ESPN.
It is not hard to see why. From a perspective on the court, Leonard helps the Lakers defend themselves immediately, even in the Western Conference. Even after a transaction, he is joining a list with many advantages that currently include Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and others.
But this goes far beyond the court itself, therefore, Leonard does not blink at the idea of sacrificing maximum dealings with the Spurs. It is a larger market and the guarantees that will be added to it. In addition to the guarantees and the money that flows from there, the bigger the market, the sweeter the next agreement will be.
Of course, the Lakers have to be willing to look beyond Leonard's injury saga.
According to Los Angeles Times & # 39; Tania Ganguli the Lakers have not spoken to the Spurs about an exchange because "they are concerned about the severity of Leonard's injury". and could end up influencing how much they are willing to give up.
"While the Lakers are open to trading any player on their list, how much they are willing to give up depends on their confidence in their health," Ganguli wrote.
Reed Saxon / Associated Press
The problem for the Lakers is that other teams will not care that much, a Leonard opportunity is an opportunity for Leonard, regardless of the price.
Still, it's a smart move by the Lakers. There's nothing more to say that the Spurs would change Leonard to the Lakers, and Paul George's fiasco, where the Indiana Pacers sent him to the Oklahoma City Thunder instead of where he really wanted to go, has to be fresh in the from the main office.
The drama just touches the point of the injury. It will depend on the Lakers to do a serious investigation to see how much of what was serious and how much was convenient for an exchange at this time. The dispute with the Spurs began in large part because Popovich became impatient with his superstar near the end of the season after he could only appear in nine games.
"You will have to ask that question to Kawhi and his group [about his availability]," Popovich told reporters in April. "Until now, they say he's not ready to leave, so we can not do anything until that happens … and then we'll have to decide what's happening from there, but that's the first thing that must happen."  Leonard had not had any notable injury problems prior to last season's disaster, which should spur the hope that the Lakers can return to their 25.5 points per game with 48.5 percent shooting from the court along with the elite defense as he did in 2016 -17.
There is a big trap with all this: the Lakers do not need Leonard.
Leonard is a luxury at this time, since the Lakers had accumulated space at the top for years in anticipation of this offseason and the next. The Spurs star fell on the latter, so he had not been in the plans until he fell with San Antonio.
For now, the attention of the Lakers is focused on James, Paul George and even movement in the next draft:
Steve Kyler @ stevekylerNBA
The Lakers have been exploring their options: Additional selections and move up … will be difficult to achieve. https://t.co/2lA6fEqhV3
This is not the news that the Lakers fans want to hear at this time given the circumstances. But the Lakers have to play chess with their badets at this time to attract free agents to the city and to solidify the talent of the base template in case there are no important names to save the day.
The Lakers should improve next season despite everything, although this does not seem to be the typical recess of the season in which their name appears linked to big names and nothing of merit ends up happening.
Something will happen although Leonard's saga has not yet fully developed, and the fate of the Lakers could depend on the Spurs, not on what the directive accomplishes. Flexibility and willingness to do whatever it takes to win will keep the Lakers running until the end, although the Lakers have many options against them beyond the Leonard front.