Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson unlikely to join Lakers
Ahead of what promises to be a fascinating summer of NBA free agency, the word is that three of the biggest available superstars on the market are not keen on signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, despite the presence of LeBron James.
The Athletic’s Bill Oram reports that a league source believes the trio of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson are not targeting the Lakers as the top team in their upcoming explorations of free agency. Instead, the Lakers will receive “second or third” billing on the three NBA stars’ respective wish lists.
Thompson was said to be intrigued by joining the Lakers should he leave the Golden State Warriors, but with one caveat.
Durant, meanwhile, is believed to be fully committed to signing with the New York Knicks, despite his protestations. The latest reports suggest he may join forces with one of his closest pals in the Big Apple as well.
On the Leonard front, signs pointed toward the superstar ultimately signing with the Lakers once he hit free agency, although subsequent reporting suggests the Toronto Raptors are doing a good job of convincing the superstar to remain in Canada for the long term.
Interestingly, should Leonard leave the Raptors in free agency, the prevailing belief is that he is more likely to end up with L.A.’s other NBA team.
This most recent speculation concerning top-tier free agents not being interested in signing with the Lakers comes amid the belief that James’ presence in L.A. is considered a liability, not an asset, in the Lakers’ plans in free agency.
Much can obviously change as free agency kicks into high gear, but it certainly appears the Lakers’ braintrust, set to embark upon a critical offseason in the wake of a disappointing first year of the LeBron James era, may have their work cut out for them.
Yet, it’s arguably encouraging that one of LeBron’s former teammates reportedly is interested in meeting with the Lakers this summer.
With all that in mind, there is a strong likelihood the Lakers will counter by amping up their pursuit of Anthony Davis via trade, despite the belief the New Orleans Pelicans are not inclined to ship him to L.A.