76ers reportedly believe they could sign Kawhi Leonard long-term

Los Angeles Lakers under pressure to pull off Kawhi Leonard trade: report

Philadelphia 76ers: 3 questions surrounding reported offer for Kawhi Leonard

The Philadelphia 76ers have discussed a trade for Kawhi Leonard with the San Antonio Spurs. "If the Sixers and Spurs make the deal, the Sixers better make sure that they can lock Leonard up to a deal, because it would be a big mistake". "He has privately maintained that he no longer wants to play in San Antonio and will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intention is to sign in Los Angeles when he can become a free agent in 2019, league sources said".

The latter has until June 29 to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which he is widely expected to do.

That kind of mentality actually may be reassuring for Lakers fans - perhaps the team is not so hellbent to get James that they would sacrifice young players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart or future draft picks.

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Logic says that anything the Celtics would be willing to give up would reflect those issues, meaning the deal wouldn't be good enough for the Spurs.

"Plus, Brett Brown and Monty Williams, the new Sixers' assistant coach, have a great relationship with Kawhi Leonard, which has to factor into any decision the Spurs makes". The Lakers, Celtics and Clippers are among the other teams that have engaged in talks.

According to a separate ESPN report, James is unlikely to visit other teams or take an audience with suitors as he did in past free-agent circuits. What makes it even more impressive is that the Clippers were in the playoff chase up until the final week of the season.

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In 2010, James bolted Cleveland in a nationally televised announcement, "The Decision", during which he infamously declared he was taking his "talents to South Beach" and joining the Miami Heat. Covington, though much-maligned, is a first team All-Defensive player and capable three-point shooter. Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson are not as experienced in these type of deals as Buford and his staff, and this is a clever way to drive up the price on Leonard, who deflated his own trade value after reports he wanted to leave the Spurs leaked. What if the Lakers then can't get any free agents next summer?

Speculation centers around contenders, including the Houston Rockets, Spurs, Lakers, 76ers and Celtics, but James shed no light on his plans in multiple interviews broaching the topic.

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