While everyone is focused on LeBron James after his decision to opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the more important piece to the NBA free agency puzzle is probably Kawhi Leonard. Leonard isn't a free agent until next season, but he's reportedly asked for a trade to Los Angeles.
Until the Spurs make a decision on what they're going to do with Leonard, James - and likely Paul George - will delay making their decisions. But the Lakers aren't the only team in the mix for Leonard.
ESPN reports Friday that the Spurs have engaged with "several" teams about Leonard - including the Boston Celtics. ESPN reports that San Antonio is "most intrigued" with Boston's assets.
The Spurs have long been most intrigued with Boston's trade assets, but it remains unclear how rich of a package the Celtics are willing to offer without a full understanding of the long-term implications of Leonard's quadriceps injury, or an assurance that they can be certain of Leonard's willingness to consider a long-term commitment next summer, league sources said.
When it comes to the Lakers, ESPN reports that Los Angeles is willing to include Brandon Ingram and a future first-round pick for Kawhi. The Spurs want more, however.
The Lakers are willing to include former No. 2 pick and a future first-round pick in a package for Leonard, but the Spurs are seeking a far more complete haul of young Lakers players and future picks, league sources said.
The biggest factor? Leonard has reportedly expressed his interest in playing for the Lakers. So if Boston trades for him, he could leave a year later when he becomes a free agent. That throws a wrench in his value for every franchise other than Los Angeles.
NBA free agency - it's just getting started this offseason.