Kawhi Leonard’s people reportedly plan on meeting with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Magic Johnson next week when free agency starts, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The meeting will most likely be in Los Angeles, per Turner.
Johnson, Los Angeles's former president of basketball operations, abruptly stepped down from the organization in April during an impromptu press conference before the team's game against the Trail Blazers. Leonard reportedly made a personal request to the team that only Buss and Johnson be involved in the meeting, per ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Johnson is not allowed to be a part of official team meetings with prospective free agents, and he told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that neither the Lakers nor Buss asked him to help.
"A friend of mine called and says Kawhi wants to meet with you," Johnson told ESPN, per Shelburne. "I said no problem. I'm available if that's what this man wants."
Despite the NBA champion's rumored request, reports have surfaced that LeBron James and new Laker Anthony Davis are planning on being part of the formal pitch to bring Leonard to Los Angeles, The Athletic's Sam Amick added.
Davis was traded to the Lakers from the Pelicans prior to this year's draft in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks. With Davis declining his $4 million trade kicker, and the Lakers dumping more salary in the AD deal, the team now has enough cap room to add a third max player like Leonard.
Leonard will reportedly decline his 2019-20 player option, forgoing $21.3 million to rejoin the Raptors and opting to become an unrestricted free agent when free agency begins on Sunday, June 30. Leonard is reportedly believed to be seriously considering re-signing with Toronto, with the Raptors being the only team who can offer the All-Star a max contract for five years and $190 million. A handful of teams could secure meetings with him.
The NBA Finals MVP led Toronto to its first championship in franchise history this year after beating the Warriors in six games. Leonard led Toronto with 28.5 points per game in the Finals, shooting 47.6% from the field.