As the hours progress, the possibility of Kawhi Leonard teaming up with LeBron and Anthony Davis on the Lakers seems increasingly likely.
According to sources, he had a “positive” phone call with Magic Johnson on Sunday to talk about the Lakers as a potential free agency destination, and it sounds like the star was able to gather some promising information about his next destination.
In an appearance on Spectrum Sportsnet, Broderick Turner of The L.A. Times revealed more about what was discussed in the meeting.
“The first thing that I’ll start with is that Kawhi and his uncle, Uncle Dennis, they talked to Magic several times. They’ve also talked with Rob Pelinka. They want to meet with Jeanie Buss and Magic. Magic can’t meet with them when Jeanie is in the room, or if Rob Pelinka is also invited... The NBA rules are kind of stipulating that you can bring anyone with that’s a non-employee, but because Magic worked for the Lakers, because they’ve been hit with tampering fines."
It sounds as if Kawhi was wanting to know just how interested the Lakers are for him, and how much power he would have if he decided to play there.
“There was one interesting question (Leonard) had for Magic: ‘Did you guys try to trade for me when I was in San Antonio?’ And the answer was ‘yes, but because it was Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and our history, they were asking for 2,000 draft picks -- well, not 2,000 -- like four draft picks, first-round draft picks, and we just couldn’t do that.’ And that was one of his questions.
“The uncle’s questions were ‘what’s really going on in the organization between you, Jeanie, Rob Pelinka, everyone? Is it as dysfunctional as we’re reading and hearing?’ And the response was ‘we had some issues, but we’re past that. I’m past that. We’re still a family, such as you fight with your brothers and sisters sometimes, well, I had somewhat of a disagreement with my sister. And Rob Pelinka, yes, I said he was a back-stabber, but that happened then. Now I want the Lakers to be a championship team. Having Kawhi here would do that.
He assured Kawhi that he could bring in his own medical team as well, a topic that was a problem during his tenure in San Antonio.
“LeBron James was able to bring on his own trainer, his own medical people. (Kawhi) wants to know if he can do that as well. LeBron James brought on some people that weren’t with the Lakers, and he wants to know ‘can I bring with a couple of my guys?’ ... And as far as I know, the Lakers would be willing to do that, because you do those things for superstar players.”
The Lakers are saying and doing the right things this summer. Their pitch is a strong one: sunshine, the city of Angels, LeBron James, and all the glitz and glamor that comes with being a Laker. But is the 2x Finals MVP willing to form a superteam after he beat two of them singlehandedly?
That answer will be coming soon...