With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both headed for Brooklyn to play for the Nets, one of the biggest free agency decisions still unknown ahead of the start of the NBA’s 6 p.m. moratorium is what will happen with Kawhi Leonard.
The current NBA Finals MVP has a big decision ahead of him, with a variety of teams interested in his services, including the Toronto Raptors team he just led to its first ever NBA Finals. But the lingering issue of the Los Angeles Lakers is an intriguing one, mostly when it comes to how the Lakers can appeal to the superstar guard. The existence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis on a team might be enough, but there’s always the star power that comes with a team like the Lakers. And that includes Magic Johnson.
The now-former Lakers executive is still extremely interested in seeing the team return to form as an NBA power, and that didn’t happen with him in charge in LeBron James’ first season with the team. But now that he’s not working for the Lakers, it was assumed he would not be able to lobby for them publicly. Which is why it was a bit of a surprise to learn that Magic reportedly talked to Leonard before free agency opened.
Earlier in the weekend there was some talk that Johnson would be part of the Lakers’ presentation to Leonard, along with James and Davis. Davis, of course, isn’t technically part of the Lakers yet, and Johnson absolutely is not a member of the organization after he abruptly quit before the team’s final regular season game.
Johnson later said he would not be part of the pitch, though Kawhi did want to talk to him. And it appears that conversation did indeed happen, although independently from the Lakers’ official offer of a contract. The league had apparently told Magic and the Lakers he could not be part of an official meeting, and as such this conversation had to happen in an informal setting.
Perhaps we’ll have to wait until Johnson tweets about the exchange. He did, after all, leave his post with the Lakers to make sure he could keep doing that without consequences.