As July 1 approaches with haste, much of the NBA world is quiet but the headliner of the pre-free agency process continues to be the future of Kawhi Leonard. Reporting suggests that the San Antonio Spurs are “fully engaged” in trade discussions including the All-NBA forward and all indications are that the Los Angeles Lakers are the team in hottest pursuit of Leonard’s services at this juncture.
Rumblings are flying around concerning what the Lakers might be willing and able to offer for Leonard, including plenty of buzz surrounding Brandon Ingram as a potential centerpiece. However, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post indicated on Thursday afternoon that Lakers guard and former No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball might not be an enticing part of a trade package on the Spurs side.
The question now is whether the Lakers even have enough to convince the San Antonio Spurs to send Leonard there. With San Antonio believed to be uninterested in Lonzo Ball, the Lakers have three other intriguing young players — Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — plus their future first-round picks to include in a deal.
San Antonio’s apparent skepticism of Ball could be centered on basketball but, for some added context, ESPN’s Zach Lowe also noted on Thursday evening that LeBron James also might have questions about playing with Ball once he, in theory, landed with the Lakers.
Lowe’s report says “there are persistent questions around the league about whether LeBron would want to play with the Lakers amid the Ball family circus” and it isn’t the biggest leap to imagine that a buttoned-up organization like the one in San Antonio may have similar concerns.
Given the breakout rookie season of Kyle Kuzma and the intriguing nature of Ingram’s skill set, it is entirely possible that the Spurs simply see Ball as the third-best prospect among the trio of assets available on the Lakers side. Still, that could be a roadblock to the roster building practices for Los Angeles in the future, particularly when the big-picture idea has always centered on pursuit of James this summer.