In recent years the NBA has become accustomed to having brothers in the league.
There is no time like the present.
That is certainly the case for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The signing of four-time MVP LeBron James to a four-year, $154 million contract has thrust the Lakers from a phase of rebuilding to championship contention in a matter of hours.
Having secured arguably the best player in the NBA, Magic Johnson’s attention turns to San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard, who, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, is still adamant about joining James in Los Angeles.
The 27 year-old demanded a trade from San Antonio despite being offered a $219 million supermax contract extension.
It’s time for the Lakers to get aggressive and pull the trigger on a Leonard trade, avoiding another Paul George fiasco.
George announced his plans to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder last week, a move that was unexpected a year ago when he informed the Indiana Pacers that he would not re-sign with the team after the 2017-18 season, with his preference being to play in Los Angeles.
George was traded to the Thunder, not the Lakers, who convicted him to sign a four-year max contract this offseason.
The Lakers missed out on George because they were unwilling to part with assets in a trade with Indiana as they were assured he would sign as a free agent this offseason. He didn’t.
Los Angeles cannot make the same mistake with Leonard.
The 2014 finals MVP comes from Los Angeles and is desperate to play for the Lakers, who ought to be anxious about a scenario in which Leonard is traded to another team who are offering more assets to San Antonio.
The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are both interested in the two-time All-Star.
The Spurs are being incredibly stubborn in trade talks with the Lakers, and reportedly asked for three first-round picks and two players from the Sixers for Leonard, preferring to trade him to an Eastern Conference team.
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Julius Randal (via a sign and trade) have all been discussed in trade rumours with Kyle Kuzma reportedly the Lakers only untouchable asset.
George re-signing with the Thunder creates more nuisances than the obvious for Los Angeles. Teams interested in trading for Leonard will be as engaged as ever, drawing inspiration from Oklahoma City and their ability to persuade George to stay despite his crave to play in his hometown.
Leonard is set on going to the Lakers, just as Paul George was 12-months ago. Magic Johnson and the Lakers must channel their inner Godfather and make the Spurs an offer for him that they cannot refuse, even if it means trading several decent prospects and multiple draft picks.