Lakers' plan unfolding: Want Kawhi as LeBron sweetener

That wasn't the only piece of information included in the report, though, as league sources also told ESPN the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers are among the teams who've made offers to the Spurs for Leonard. That pick could be used to sweeten a prospective trade opportunity.

The Celtics have reportedly made another offer for Kawhi Leonard.

In the reporting, Deveney cites a league executive saying that "he expects James to sign with the Lakers, even before the team remakes its roster" even in the midst of buzz that James is communicating with other top-tier players about a partnership.

For the Lakers, it's a dicey position, offering some of their young core players and future draft picks, knowing it would rid them of their depth if they do land a super-team or harm their future if they land Leonard, but not George or James.

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Both George and James have until Friday to decide if they want to opt out of the final year of their contract and enter free agency and that is when things will really start to heat up.

The risk and price tag in acquiring San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard may be too rich for the Celtics this offseason, but the Celtics still can not just sit idle and watch Leonard land with a team like the 76ers. The Spurs have acknowledged their fractured relationship with Leonard, but general manager R.C. Buford recently said the team's first option would be to retain the 26-year-old All-Star. If the Spurs wait too long, James and George can make their decisions, and the Lakers could move on from Leonard, knowing they may sign him next summer.

A trade would nullify that, but Leonard reportedly is not anxious about the financial implications. He has played eight of his nine National Basketball Association seasons with the Spurs.

The race for Leonard is on, and if the Spurs play their hand wisely, an ugly situation could end up with them bringing in a haul of assets to jumpstart a rebuild.

  • Lawrence Cooper