The Cavaliers have been working on several trade and cap clearing moves to be aggressive in free agency, but have been stymied in attempts to meet or discuss scenarios with James.
The price for Leonard would be substantial.
On a recent Yahoo Sports NBA Podcast, Shams Charania said that the Lakers could offer Demarcus Cousins a one or two year deal this summer if all other big name options fail. According to reports, multiple Cavs members believe LeBron is staying with the team.
The Celtics could likely trump any trade offer for Leonard, with their vast collection of future first-round draft picks and a current roster littered with young and promising talent.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has taken similar risks before, though nothing identical to giving up a haul for Leonard, who played only nine games this season because of a leg injury but who finished third in MVP voting only one season prior.
But if a team like the Lakers is desperate to land Leonard, then it could help the Spurs.
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James and George would be an ideal match for each other if they were to sign with the same team.
No matter what happens during his free agency, we'll always have the 2016 season.
With that, teams have reportedly engaged San Antonio in trade talks. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne, "pressure is mounting" on Magic Johnson and his front-office staff with the Lakers to execute a deal with the Spurs before Friday's deadline for James to exercise the contract clause that would enable him to hit the open market.
The Spurs are on the clock, too.
Making things even trickier is that James wants to make a quick decision about where he's headed next once free agency begins on July 1, per ESPN. That could mean that the Lakers may only be desperate for a little while longer.
Clearly, the Lakers are playing a high stakes game, and they may be the only National Basketball Association team that is fully equipped to do so right now.