About a week back I wrote that I hoped Kawhi Leonard would stay a Spur. Well, that has all blown up in my face, and the Spurs face. It appears that he is going to be in a different uniform next season. There are new reports everyday, but don't get it twisted, he is going to end up a Laker, one way or another.
What a mess.
I read a report that he was going to meet with Greg Poppovich, they met, and the people who were present said it was a good meeting. It seemed that maybe they had squashed their beef. Then, the other day I read that Kawhi was saying he never wanted to step foot in the Spurs facility again, unless he was on a different team, and he was playing there. Then, after that report, I read that the Spurs were now willing to trade him to a team, but no one in the West. That one, if they were to trade him, made sense to me. Why would they want to trade him in the conference and have to face him multiple times a year. This made even more sense when I heard that the 76ers were trying to get RC Buford, the current Spurs GM, to be their new GM. It all started to come together. And, I thought, of any team he could go to, the 76ers made the most sense.
Today there are a ton of new reports that the Spurs and Lakers have "intensified" their trade talks, that the Spurs were now willing to trade him to a West team if the return was proper and that LeBron said, if the Lakers were to acquire him, he would be very willing to sign with the Lakers. Oh, and Paul George opted out of the final year of his contract in OKC, thus making these rumors seem even more real. After all the recent news, I have thrown my hands up, and given in to the fact that, not only will the Lakers get Kawhi, but they will most likely sign LeBron and Paul George. Sure, they will have to trade some of their young talent, but who cares when you can get three perennial All Stars, one of which is the current best player in the world. I don't think that Rob Pelinka or Magic Johnson truly care if they have to add a Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle or Brandon Ingram in a deal. I don't think they care if they have to add all four to get these three guys, or even 2 of them.
I got a report on my phone from Bleacher Report today that said that the Lakers were willing to add Brandon Ingram in any trade talks in fact. I thought he was one of the untouchable guys too. He actually improved a ton in his second season. He seemed like the guy that the Lakers should keep, and add these stars around him. They should trade Ball, or Kuzma, or, especially Randle before dealing Ingram. Ingram is the real deal. I fully believe that he is going to have a long, and fruitful, NBA career. Lonzo Ball has potential, his vision is amazing, but he has a garbage shot, and you have to deal with his family, and, most importantly, his dad. You think Lavar Ball will really expect his son to play second fiddle to Kawhi or Paul George? Hell, he will shit talk LeBron the moment he signs with the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma has the makings of being a good to great scorer, but he plays no defense, and he is considered "old" in the modern NBA. The kid can shoot, but he is no Brandon Ingram. And Julius Randle has had one foot out the door for the past 2 seasons. He doesn't fit in in LA. He comes and goes as he pleases, and he doesn't seem like he will live up to the hype. He also broke his leg his rookie year, and he missed an entire season. He still has a done of room to grow.
But, the Lakers seem to be desperate, so they are now willing to trade their best young guy, to get only Kawhi. That seems crazy to me. And, if the Spurs are to trade Kawhi, they better damn well get Ingram, and some high, high picks in upcoming drafts. I feel like Ingram, in that Spurs system, would thrive. And if they have to give up Kawhi, so be it. He clearly wants out, and to get a super young, hyper athletic player, that is really starting to come into his own, they'd be crazy not to do it. I don't think losing Kawhi and adding Ingram would be a death blow to them either.
What all of this talk boils down to, at least for me, the Lakers are going to get Kawhi. Then, they will get LeBron. Then, Paul George will announce he is going to sign there. It is going to happen. There are far too many signs that they will get these guys. Magic wants them. Kawhi wants to go there. LeBron has said that he would love to play with Kawhi. And Paul George would make a fine third option on that team, I guess. As much as I don't want this to happen, I'm about 99 percent sure it will. I still think adding these three guys, along with whomever the Lakers can keep, this makes them no better than third in the West. The Warriors are still, far and away, the best team in the West, and all of basketball, and I still like the Rockets, as long as they keep Chris Paul, just a bit more. So, at least there is that.
Oh well, lets get this all over with so I can bitch more about "super teams" on this website.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on all the internet.
SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.