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Kawhi Leonard Trade Would Be 'Disastrous' For Lakers, Forbes Writer Argues

Kobe Bryant wearing a suit while standing at center court of the Staples center.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kobe Bryant walk out to center court during his jersey retirement ceremony at halftime of a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Not everyone is sold on a Kawhi Leonard Lakers trade being beneficial to Magic Johnson's club. In fact, one writer thinks it would be downright "disastrous."

Forbes contributor Gabe Zaldivar argued as much in a Friday morning column. Rather than back up the truck to guarantee Leonard comes to L.A. this year, he wants to see the Lakers stay the course (and still see if they can land LeBron James).

He believes the old "Big Three" model that helped the Celtics and Heat win titles is done. The Warriors' homegrown style is the more sustainable one.

The Lakers need to stop whatever it is they think they are doing with the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James and stick with the plan.

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The Golden State Warriors showed exactly what it takes to build a dynasty in this era of big contracts and dangerous salary cap penalties.

I won’t sit here and say that the Lakers will turn into the Warriors redux in a few years, but you have to admit what they have going for them is promising.

And if some of the recent rumors are to be believed, the Lakers are willing to blow most of it all up for a player who may or may not be at 100% health by the time the season rolls around.

Zaldivar is right: any Kawhi Leonard Lakers trade is a legitimate risk.

In fact, the team that might be the highest on Leonard's immediate prospects is the one being forced into dealing him: the San Antonio Spurs. The team cleared Leonard to play this past season, it was Leonard's doctors whose word kept him from returning to the floor after a brief stretch at mid-season.

Leonard's health is a definite question, and one of his own doing. And that is before you address the possibility of draining the Lakers of much of their young talent.

Los Angeles hasn't been competitive in a while, but there are some pieces in place. Lonzo Ball had a promising rookie campaign at point guard. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma both have future all-star potential on the wing. Julius Randle is rounding into a very nice power forward. A Leonard deal would probably require at least two of those guys, plus first round picks.

The most compelling argument against Zaldivar's is that missing on Kawhi might cost the Lakers LeBron. He cites a report by Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon, which states that James' future would neither be "clinched nor doomed" by what happens with Leonard.

Other reports state that landing Leonard would greatly increase LeBron's chances of jumping to the Lakers. It seems that Kawhi, the only superstar who doesn't control his destiny this offseason, is the one who is willing to be the first to join the team. That puts the Lakers in a weird spot.

Risking losing LeBron is a very tough sell. However, if Leonard has his mind set on Los Angeles next season no matter what, the argument that the Lakers should play the long game here and avoid risking it all for being one season early is a compelling one as well.

[Forbes]