It's no secret: Spurs' All-Star Kawhi Leonard wants to play in Los Angeles. It's also no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers want Kawhi to play in LA. So why is it going to be so hard for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka to trade for the defensive superstar?
Of course, Leonard hasn't explicitly said he wants to play in his hometown of Los Angeles himself, but multiple reports have mentioned that LA -- either the Lakers or the Clippers -- are a top destination for Kawhi and his camp. The Lakers have a boatload of cap space and assets to acquire Leonard, as well as up to two other All-Stars to form a big three in Los Angeles that could potentially compete with the Warriors. Things should be a formality at this stage.
Unfortunately for Laker fans, they're not going to be.
Rumors over the years have suggested that Gregg Popovich has a strict rule within the Spurs organization: No trading with fellow Western Conference teams. That rule is even stricter when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers, a team which has waged it's fair share of wars with the Spurs in the postseason, dating back to the 2000's.
Still, hypothetically, if the Lakers offered up their entire young core for Kawhi, would the rule still be upheld? Probably not. In fact, the only way the Lakers may be able to acquire Kawhi Leonard through a trade is by 1. Offering more than they probably should, and 2. Bringing in a third team to facilitate a trade scenario where the Spurs don't completely lose out on the deal.
Rumors will be at their peak on draft night this week, where teams will be sending offers left and right to San Antonio in hopes of snagging Leonard.