Because Faried, Arthur and Chandler all have expiring contracts, the Lakers could still be players in the summer of 2019. The Spurs are reportedly only interested in sending the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and former Finals MVP to the Eastern Conference, though Leonard has made it known that he would prefer to land in Los Angeles. One team source says preliminary discussions with San Antonio revealed the Spurs have strong interest in a package involving burgeoning forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington as well as a future first-round pick.More news: Lakers draft trade aimed at superteam built around LeBron James
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 Rams' decision to give their input on the situation on further exemplifies that buzz that has been brewing, especially after the least development with the 33-year-old electing to becoming an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Reports have suggested they may have more success signing James and/or George if Leonard is already in the fold. This report would indicate they're attempting to make a big splash right now.
Both teams also believe a Leonard trade would "likely clinch" a commitment from LeBron James to join the Lakers as a free agent, per ESPN. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Celtics "have assets" that the Spurs have had their eye on for some time. Not only did ESPN report Wednesday that George is no longer assured of signing with the the Lakers, but it also referenced George (who said last summer he would eventually sign with the Lakers) as a reason pressure is mounting.
In a testament to the closeness of James' inner-circle, there is essentially no certainty of what he'll do in free agency.