Latest NBA Buzz and Rumors on Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, More

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 13:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. 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 (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Less than one week into NBA free agency, the landscape of the league has completely changed with LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers. 

That's just the tip of what's shaping up to be a wild summer, with teams still looking to make moves that will put them in a better position to challenge the Golden State Warriors for a championship next season. 

Rumors never stop during the NBA's offseason, so here's a roundup of the latest stories that fans will be talking about. 


Kawhi Leonard Prefers Clippers Over Lakers

The ongoing saga of Kawhi Leonard appears to have taken a turn after James committed to join the Lakers.

Prior to the start of free agency, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Leonard preferred the San Antonio Spurs trade him to the Lakers. 

Appearing on Tuesday's episode of The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania noted the two-time All-Star would be "very much open" to joining the Los Angeles Clippers. 

ESPN's Michael C. Wright took it a step further on the Back to Back Podcast, saying the Lakers aren't Leonard's "preferred destination anymore," and he wants to go to the Clippers because "he doesn't want to go and be second fiddle to LeBron."

Good luck getting the Spurs to sign off on that deal since Wright noted the Clippers' "assets are s--t at this point."


Kyrie Irving Never Wanted to Play With LeBron James

Despite winning a championship together two years ago, Kyrie Irving didn't want James to return to Cleveland when he was a free agent in the summer of 2014.

Appearing on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland (via CBS Sports' Jack Maloney), The Athletic's Jason Lloyd said Irving "never really wanted" James to return to Cleveland. 

"He didn't think it was necessary," Lloyd said. "LeBron said something to Kyrie on the court following a game when he was with Miami something to the effect of, 'Keep going, keep doing what you're doing. You never know, I could be back here one day.' And Kyrie basically said, 'What's he talking about, we don't need him.'"

ESPN's Dave McMenamin, who was also on the show with Lloyd, added Irving considered asking the Cavs for a trade after their title win in 2016. 

Irving ended up playing out the 2016-17 season in Cleveland, helping the team get back to the NBA Finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors in five games. He was traded to the Boston Celtics last August. 


Carmelo Anthony Looking for New Team

Facing the prospect of paying an NBA-record $300 million in player salary and luxury tax penalties, the Oklahoma City Thunder will reportedly part ways with Carmelo Anthony this summer. 

Per Wojnarowski and Royce Young of ESPN.com, Anthony's agent and Thunder general manager Sam Presti will work together to figure out an exit via trade, the stretch provision or a combined buyout and stretch. 

If the Thunder use the stretch provision on Anthony, they will cut $107 million off their payroll and luxury tax payments next season.

The move comes after Anthony opted in to the $27.9 million option on his contract for the 2018-19 season prior to the June 29 deadline. 

Oklahoma City acquired Anthony last September in a trade with the New York Knicks. The 10-time All-Star was a disappointment, setting career-lows in points per game (16.2), shooting percentage (40.4) and player efficiency rating (12.78). 

As for where Anthony could end up, Wojnarowski and Young noted there are multiple suitors that will include the Lakers and Miami Heat.

Marc Stein of the New York Times noted the Houston Rockets will also have interest in Anthony if he becomes a free agent.