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Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Willing to Take on Salary to Acquire 1st-Round Pick

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2018

EL SEGUNDO, CA - JUNE 26:  Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers helps introduce 2018 NBA draft pick Moritz Wagner during an introductory press conference at the UCLA Health Training Center on June 26, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly attempting to bolster their asset stockpile as they continue to try to swing a deal for San Antonio Spurs swingman Kawhi Leonard

Citing sources "at several teams," ESPN.com's Zach Lowe reported Thursday the Lakers "are reaching out across the league in search of an extra first-round pick, indicating they would take on some unwanted future salary to snare it."

The Lakers have the cleanest balance sheet in the NBA after making a concerted effort to shed salary throughout the 2017-18 season. But as Lowe noted, they're now willing to forfeit some financial flexibility if it means securing a pick they could ultimately flip to the Spurs to put the finishing touches on a deal for Leonard. 

"That alone indicates the Lakers are at least a little worried, and interested in nabbing Leonard now," Lowe wrote. "If the Lakers build a super-ish team, their own future picks over the next three or four seasons lose value; they will presumably fall in the 20s. Thus the search for others."

Lowe's update comes 24 hours after ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne reported the Lakers are facing "mounting" pressure to nab Leonard and have been exploring avenues to complete a trade before LeBron James is faced with the decision to opt in or out of his contract by 11:59 p.m. ET Friday. 

Leonard, who turns 27 on Friday, is entering the final guaranteed year of his deal and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019 if he declines his $21.3 million player option.