The Los Angeles Lakers re-engaged the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday in aggressively pursuing All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard, according to a report from ESPN.
This is the first contact between the two teams since the Spurs “shut the door” on the Lakers after an initial call last week, per the report.
The LA Times is reporting the talks were "productive."
With free agency just a few days away, pressure is mounting for the Lakers to execute a trade for Leonard so they can lure LeBron James. James is hesitant to be the first superstar to sign with the Lakers and watching closely how the Lakers proceed with the Leonard talks.
Leonard, of course, has requested a trade out of San Antonio and made it known he wants to play for the Lakers. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has one year left on his contract.
The Spurs still want to patch things up with Leonard and convince him to stay. The odds of that happening, however, are very low, as Leonard reportedly told coach Gregg Popovich during their meeting in San Diego that he wants to be traded as soon as possible.
An overwhelming Lakers offer is expected to convince San Antonio to part with its franchise star, although the Spurs are in no rush to trade Leonard.
The Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers have also made offers to the Spurs for Leonard, who will most likely tell those organizations he’ll only be a one-year rental before signing with Los Angeles in 2019.
League officials believe the Lakers have to offer the Spurs a package built around Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and future first-round picks in exchange for Leonard, recognized as the best two-way player in the NBA.
If the Lakers are able to acquire Leonard, it would likely clinch a free agent commitment from James.