Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Possible Kawhi Leonard Trade, Chris Bosh and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, right, drives past Los Angeles Lakers' Brandon Ingram during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

It only took one tweet to deliver the Los Angeles Lakers the biggest prize of the 2018 NBA offseason.

Following a flurry of activity to open the free-agency period, Klutch Sports Group woke up a relatively sleepy Sunday evening with word that LeBron James was officially L.A.-bound:

Klutch Sports Group @KlutchSports


With James in tow, the Lakers went about rapidly filling up their roster.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signed on for another season in Purple and Gold, per ESPN.com's Chris Haynes. Lance Stephenson followed shortly thereafter, via Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania, and JaVale McGee was the next domino to drop, per Haynes.

And somehow, the rumor mill keeps chirping with potential additions.


Kawhi Leonard Still Eyeing L.A.

The Kawhi Leonard saga continues, as a frustrating, injury-riddled campaign still has the disgruntled superstar eyeing an exit.

And not just any exit, but the one leading out from the San Antonio Spurs and toward the Lakers, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Sources: As trade talks have unfolded, Kawhi Leonard’s focus is unchanged: He wants to be a Laker. https://t.co/0wZGf5MrNt

Leonard still has at least one year left on his current pact with the Spurs (he has a player option for 2019-20), which gives them some leverage. But with tales of tension dating back months now, the relationship could be broken beyond repair.

That doesn't automatically put Leonard—a top-five talent when healthy—in a Lakers jersey, but there's an awful lot of smoke to not catch fire at some point.

Before the market had even opened, USA Today's Sam Amick brought word of a "Godfather Lakers offer" being whispered about:

Sam Amick @sam_amick

Rumblings of a Godfather Lakers offer for San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard have rival teams wondering if anyone else can compete here. The latest summer of LeBron has officially begun...

The particulars of that offer are unclear, but it's reasonable to assume it must be loaded in order to satisfy the Spurs. Leonard is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year who averaged 25.5 points in his last healthy season. San Antonio is right to ask for the world in exchange, and with LeBron in the mix, L.A. might be emboldened to meet a sky-high asking price.


Chris Bosh Making a Comeback?

Chris Bosh's last NBA appearance came on February 9, 2016, before a recurrence of blood clots paused his professional career.

He was waived by the Miami Heat last July, after an agreement between him, the team and the NBA allowed his remaining $52 million to be cleared from their cap space. The agreement prevented him from returning to Miami but allowed for the possibility of joining another club if he could get medical clearance.

That's where the Lakers potentially come into play.

"A source told Sporting News that Bosh could petition the league again for a return to action, arguing that advances in blood-thinning medication make him less likely to have an on-court problem and that he's willing to accept responsibility for any such incidents," Sean Deveney reported.

Since Bosh collected the remainder of his Miami salary, he might be a candidate for a veteran's minimum contract—again if he's cleared to return.

Bosh was selected to 11 All-Star Games, including the 2016 contest that his last bout with blood clots forced him to miss. He owns career averages of 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and he won two NBA titles with James during their four years with the Heat.

It's impossible to know whether Bosh's health will allow for a comeback, but from a basketball sense, he's an ideal frontcourt partner for James. Bosh not only possesses a potent three-point stroke (1.5 per night on 36.9 percent shooting his last two seasons), he's also a sturdy defender both around the rim and on the perimeter.


Nerlens Noel a Possibility?

Despite all the roster reshuffling, the Lakers may still have a frontcourt vacancy to fill. Even with McGee coming on board, that only fills one of the spots previously held by Julius Randle and Brook Lopez.

If the Lakers are still in the big-man market, they reportedly made the shortlist for Nerlens Noel, per Charania:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Sources: Free agent center Nerlens Noel has narrowed decision on signing to these teams: The Wizards, Lakers, Thunder --- with interest from the Pelicans.

This report surfaced before McGee—another athletic rim-runner—joined the fold, so perhaps that signing squeezed Noel out of the Lakers' plans.

If not, the 24-year-old former No. 6 pick might be an interesting buy-low candidate.

His 2017-18 season with the Dallas Mavericks was largely a disaster, undone by thumb surgery, a five-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy and a strange story regarding a hot dog at halftime.

That said, he remains an intriguing project thanks to length, fast hands, quick feet and gobs of defensive potential. He's already tied for the career lead with four seasons of at least 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes.


Unless otherwise indicated, all stats are from Basketball Reference or NBA.com.