Los Angeles Lakers

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard's teammates think Lakers or Clippers will land star


NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard's teammates think Lakers or Clippers will land star

Ever since last summer, the prevailing train of thought has been that Kawhi Leonard will head to Los Angeles when he becomes a free agent this summer.

While the Lakers might have been seen as the early frontrunners to sign Leonard, the Clippers have emerged as the most viable candidate, as they can offer the 2014 NBA Finals MVP the chance to play for a functional organization in his hometown without all the drama that comes with playing alongside LeBron James.

That being said, you can't count the Toronto Raptors out of the running, can you? Leonard has had a great first season north of the border, and there's a possibility the Raptors could win the East and play for the NBA title.  Would Leonard really leave a team that's as set up for long-term success as the Raptors are?

While you might think he'd be crazy to leave what could be a perennial NBA Finals contender, that apparently isn't the feeling of some in the Toronto locker room, according to Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus. 

In an article about the Clippers and their comeback win over the Warriors in Game 2 of their first-round NBA playoff series, Pincus talked to a former player who said Leonard's teammates don't get the feeling he's sticking around. 

"One former player said Leonard's teammates expect him to leave for Los Angeles after the season, although he didn't specify which franchise," Pincus writes. 

Of course, Leonard won't be the only marquee free agent on the market this offseason, with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson all likely to be available. While Durant and Irving could choose to opt into the final year of their respective contracts, it seems like a near certainty that both players will opt out and test the market. 

Should Leonard leave Toronto for the glitz and glamor of Los Angeles, no matter the team, the power dynamic in the Western Conference will tilt away from the Warriors, especially if Durant and/or Thompson elect to leave the Bay this summer.

Despite the apparent attempt to miss the playoffs, the Clippers ended up winning 48 games even after trading away Tobias Harris at the deadline, and have played the Warriors tough through the first two games of their playoff series. Adding Leonard to the mix would make the collection of role players assembled by Lawrence Frank, Jerry West and Doc Rivers all the more dangerous.

While the Lakers currently seem like a long shot to land Leonard, putting one of the best two-way players in the NBA next to James and the Lakers' crop of young talent would vault them back up the Western Conference hierarchy.  At least, in theory.

[RELATED: KD's free-agency decision reportedly won't be impacted by the playoffs]

If Durant leaves the Warriors and Leonard joins one of the L.A. teams, the Western Conference will be more wide open than it has been in the last five seasons.

Buckle up, it's going to be a wild summer.

Lakers haven't called Warriors about GM Bob Myers, owner Joe Lacob says

Lakers haven't called Warriors about GM Bob Myers, owner Joe Lacob says

The trendy rumor floating around NBA circles is that Warriors general manager Bob Myers could leave the back-to-back champs to join the Los Angeles Lakers' front office.

But Myers himself laughed at the thought when NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole asked him about it Friday. Then, on Saturday, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob poured even more cold water on the idea.

"No one [from the Lakers] has called me. I can say that," Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa on "Warriors Playoff Central" before Game 1 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lacob spoke about what Myers means to him, and also didn't rule out something unexpected happening.

"We'll have to wait and see if something like that did occur," Lacob said. "He's a great part of our family here, and I feel very close to him. I consider him like a son, almost. I would be surprised by that, I guess. ... We'll see.

"I know there's been a lot of media speculation. Things happen, so you have to be prepared for it."

Myers went to UCLA and was based out of Los Angeles when he was an agent, so the connection to LA is there. But Myers also grew up a Warriors fan, so leaving would be tough for him.

[RELATED: Durant explains how he sacrificed to join the Warriors]

Plus, the Warriors are a well-oiled machine right now. The Lakers are a car wreck, after they missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and team president Magic Johnson surprisingly quit earlier this week.

NBA rumors: Lakers intervened to stop Lonzo Ball from unauthorized surgery

NBA rumors: Lakers intervened to stop Lonzo Ball from unauthorized surgery

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

The Lakers named Magic Johnson president of basketball operations in February 2017.

About four months later, the franchise selected Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

According to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Magic wanted to select De'Aaron Fox (who went to the Kings at No. 5 overall) but owner Jeannie Buss wanted Lonzo.

That tidbit is very interesting when you factor in what we learned on Friday afternoon, courtesy Shams Charania of The Athletic:

One of the headaches and near-debacles of the final stretch of Johnson’s tenure came in late February. In what could have been a catastrophe, the Lakers needed to prevent point guard Lonzo Ball from undergoing a potential unauthorized surgery on his left ankle that was planned by estranged former business partner Alan Foster and with LaVar Ball’s knowledge, multiple team and league sources told The Athletic.

The Lakers found out about Ball’s situation when Lonzo Ball called General Manager Rob Pelinka, and the organization informed him that they would not allow it and could void his contract, sources said. The Lakers then arranged transportation to bring Ball home, sources said ... Johnson and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka communicated with those around Lonzo, working with his then-agent Harrison Gaines to squash the procedure and bring him back to Los Angeles, sources around the team with knowledge of the situation said.

Ball, meanwhile, has since shuffled those around him by hiring Creative Artists Agency to represent him. He filed a lawsuit against Foster alleging in excess of $2 million in damages.

This story is...

...not actually unbelievable because when it comes to LaVar Ball, crazy is normal.

Lonzo sustained a significant ankle sprain on Jan. 19 and missed the rest of the season.

Over his final 13 games, the 21-year old averaged 12.5 points, 7.2 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting over 37 percent from deep.

In his only appearance against the Warriors, he recorded six points, four assists and three rebounds in Los Angeles' Christmas Night win.

Lonzo will be playing for a new head coach next season, as the Lakers and Luke Walton mutually agreed to part ways on Friday.

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