The clock is ticking for the Los Angeles Lakers to sign Kawhi Leonard as the deadline for free agency to “officially” open is tomorrow at Noon ET. Should the Lakers be unable to land Kawhi before the deadline, they run the risk of either losing their max slot if they immediately execute the Anthony Davis trade.
On the other side of things, they could also potentially cause a headache for a number of other teams by holding up the trade until Leonard makes his decision. In turn, this could create a major issue which all parties involved are surely hoping to avoid.
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Kawhi Leonard Holding Up Lakers’ Anthony Davis Trade Creates Big Problem
In addition to putting a hold on the Lakers’ ability to add any more free agents, Leonard potentially holding up the Anthony Davis trade impacts the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, and Washington Wizards as well. The Pelicans would be impacted the worst by the trade being delayed as they would be unable to play their heaps of new assets acquired in the draft (aside from Zion Williamson) in summer league and forces them to stall their signing of JJ Redick.
The Hawks also run into an issue as their prized draft pick, De’Andre Hunter, would be unable to suit up for them since his draft rights still sit with the Lakers until the trade is executed. The Wizards are possibly impacted the hardest overall as they are unable to utilize veteran second-year summer league players Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones in Las Vegas.
The ripple effect likely stretches even further seeing as an incredibly large number of trades have been executed, specifically by the Pelicans – who are directly involved in the Davis deal. However, if one thing can safely be said it is that the Lakers will be making multiple teams extremely unhappy by holding up the deal if Leonard doesn’t make a decision by Noon ET Saturday.
Lakers Other Free Agency Options Should Kawhi Leonard Fall Through
Should the Lakers strike out on Kawhi, it seems likely that they will pull the trigger on a number of free agent signings in rapid succession. Danny Green seems to be a likely target as the Lakers desperately need three-point shooting and defense. Green has been waiting on Kawhi Leonard’s decision and it seems likely that the Lakers would offer him a hefty pay raise should they lose out on his former teammate.
The Lakers have also been linked to fellow Kawhi-waiters and former Lakers JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo – mainly due to the fact that they have no point guard or center listed on the roster. Both are expected to be available for extremely team-friendly deals and if the Lakers whiff on Leonard, offering a short term deal that gives McGee a bit of a pay raise from his league minimum deal last year makes sense. Even if they get Leonard, keep an eye on both McGee and Rondo to potentially make a return to play with the lakers.