The Lakers are the most oft-cited team as a potential destination in any Kawhi Leonard trade. The team has assets to give up, and could be reasonably certain that the Southern California native would sign a long-term deal with them.
He is still under contract with the San Antonio Spurs through next season. That gives the team plenty of leverage in terms of where he can go, though it may also limit his value based on if trade partners believe he may sign a new deal.
If he wants to be a Laker, the team could wait out his free agency. That would allow the team to bring him on without dealing assets like Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma.
However, that could be risky in the team's pursuit of another superstar: LeBron James. Landing Leonard now could further entice James to head to L.A. If he signs with the Lakers without another superstar in place, he is essentially punting on his chance to win the title in 2019. Even with Kawhi, beating the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference playoffs would be extremely difficult.
This afternoon, Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Shams Charania reported that the Lakers have reached out to the Spurs about a possible deal.
Now, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne says the Spurs "shut the door" on Kawhi Leonard trade talks with the Lakers.
Shelburne is one of the most tapped in reporters covering the Lakers and the NBA in general.
That doesn't mean a deal can't or won't happen. As outlined above, the Lakers are one of the best matches for the Spurs, given Leonard's reported interest in L.A., and the Lakers' assets.
Still, don't expect the team to just give him away. Any top five player in the league should fetch a hefty price.