With LeBron, Lakers suddenly a betting favorite


The Lakers aren't almost as an attractive destination without either Leonard or Paul George, who is expected to sign with either L.A. or the Oklahoma City Thunder as a free agent.

And while the Cavs remain hopeful he'll stay, there are other teams in the mix for the 33-year-old - and the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be at the top of the list. The Sixers are certainly in the running, and if they could land Leonard, possibly by parting with Dario Saric and Robert Covington as well as a future first-round pick to the Spurs, it's a risk.

The Lakers missed the postseason a year ago, but that would quickly be forgotten by adding both James and Leonard.

LeBron James made the first move.

Whether Philly has the assets to acquire Leonard is up for debate. With hopes of landing LeBron James as well, Kawhi will be a good convincing for The King to join the Lakers and form the next frightening duo of the West. Getting Leonard would be great, but don't expect the Lakers to blow up the team in order to do so. Johnson said he'll step down as president if the Lakers are unable to get big-name free agents in the next two years.

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The Sixers have the ability to offer James a $38.25 million annual maximum salary over four years, potentially partnering him with two of the NBA's best young stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

On the other hand, there's a danger in not striking while the iron is hot.

"Kawhi Leonard to miss birthday party (return from injury management)", one fan said in relation to this past season's Spurs injury report. However, that has turned out not to be the case, as James seemed to be alright with what the Lakers already had. What if the Lakers then can't get any free agents next summer?

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman spoke to both James and Paul on the phone when National Basketball Association free agency officially opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, sources told ESPN's Dave McMenamin.