LeBron James has reportedly been in contact with at least two star NBA players about joining the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.
The two players: Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.
ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst said on Pardon The Interruption this evening that he’s heard LeBron has been “in contact” with those two star players.
Both Leonard and Butler are set to hit free agency this summer and, of course, both would be major additions to a Lakers team that missed the playoffs.
Of course, it’s unclear how much a phone call or dinner with LeBron could impact the decisions of Butler and Leonard.
Previous reports have stated that Leonard could be uninterested in playing with LeBron on the Lakers, with the Clippers being the more-likely destination. Butler, meanwhile, has been linked to several different teams, and could end up re-signing in Philadelphia.
If the Lakers are unable to land a top free agent, a trade could be in the works.
The Lakers have other players they’re targeting in trades, according to league sources. Chief among them is Wizards guard Bradley Beal, though with the Wizards not yet hiring a front office honcho, no decision has been made whether to trade Beal. But LA will be in position to make an attractive offer if Beal is put on the block.
There’s also interest in point guard Kyle Lowry, who could be available if the Raptors lose Kawhi Leonard in free agency. Because of Lowry’s age (33) and contract ($33 million for next season), the Lakers could bring him in for a relatively limited outgoing package.
Kyrie Irving, also a free agent, has been mentioned as a potential future Lakers player. However, his relationship with Kevin Durant has reportedly “never been stronger,” and it seems more likely that they’ll team up.
We’re in for one heck of a summer in the NBA.