Updated: 10:15 p.m.
Here we go.
NBA free agency doesn't start until July 1, but the drama is already starting to brew.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne reported Wednesday that the Sixers are among the teams to have made a trade offer to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard, along with the Lakers, Celtics, Clippers and Cavaliers. But, the report reiterates that the Lakers are the "franchise that Leonard wants to be traded to," and that the Spurs haven't ruled out any team in a potential Leonard trade.
On top of that, the Lakers are said to be in a "race" to land Leonard by Friday, which is when LeBron James has until to decide whether to opt out of his current deal with the Cavs. James is hesitant to be the first star to jolt to Los Angeles, and there is concern that Paul George's coming to the Lakers is no longer a sure thing, per the report. Also, James prefers to make his July free agency decision quickly.
That is why, per another ESPN report, the Lakers and Spurs reopened Leonard trade talks on Wednesday. Per the article, the Lakers are “using the Paul George and Kyrie Irving trades as proportional models for a Leonard deal, but San Antonio understands that this trade, for intents and purposes, would mean Leonard and James coming to the Lakers, and will likely command a massive package of young players and draft picks for Leonard, a two-time first-team All-NBA and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.”
So what does all this mean for the Sixers?
It appears that if George signs elsewhere and the Spurs either trade Leonard to a different team or hold onto him well into July, the chances of James signing with the Lakers would go down. If that's the case and James opts out of his deal, the Cavs and Sixers would be among his two best remaining choices. If James opts into his deal, then he would have to be acquired via a sign-and-trade if he still wants out of Cleveland, allowing Houston to remain as a potential landing spot.
As far as the Sixers' pursuit of Leonard, the original report notes "rival teams are trying to measure how much to offer" in trade proposals. With Leonard coming off a season in which he played just nine games because of a quad injury, set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer and said to have the Lakers as his preferred destination, it's easy to see how his trade value would be hard to gauge for a team like the Sixers.