So, if the Lakers can't land Kawhi Leonard (hello, Boston?) in order to help lure LeBron James to Los Angeles, is Kevin Durant the backup plan?

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reports that James texted Durant about joining him with the Lakers. 

Later Thursday, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com shot down that report, and that James' move to L.A. was dependent on Leonard.

Now, LeBron's impending free agency has been well chronicled and he faces a deadline Friday to let the Cavs know if he'll opt out. Durant also holds a $26.25 million player option for next season. He told the Athletic back in March he'd be staying with Golden State when asked if he was 100 percent certain he'd be back with the Warriors. 

Here's a theory on what LeBron's pitch to Durant would be, via Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com's Pro Basketball Talk:

Durant was roundly criticized for joining a ready-made championship team when he went from the Oklahoma City Thunder to Golden State in 2016. Would starting from scratch - with Paul George as part of a Big Three - be more satisfying?