Los Angeles Lakers under pressure to pull off Kawhi Leonard trade

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In a report detailing the pressure the Lakers are feeling to add a star like Kawhi Leonard to entice James to join them, ESPN slid in some details about his return to Cleveland.

Making things even trickier is that James wants to make a quick decision about where he's headed next once free agency begins on July 1, per ESPN.

James finished second to Harden in the race for the 2017-2018 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, as the Rockets guard picked up 86 first-place votes and 15 second-place tallies on the way to 965 points.

CLEVELAND- LeBron James could opt out of his a year ago of his contract with the Cavaliers and leave Cleveland for a second time.

Leonard has been adamant that he doesn't want to step into the San Antonio locker room again, and the Spurs have been adamant that they won't be forced into a trade, or a timetable, prior to the February trading deadline, league sources said.

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That help would most likely come in the form of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George - or, ideally, both - but there are some other possibilities, including Chris Paul, James's longtime friend.

The team at the top of Leonard's list is reportedly the Los Angeles Lakers. George had only one season remaining on his deal when the Pacers traded him last summer.

But if Leonard is set on going to Los Angeles next year, Ainge probably won't want to part with much, and would likely be unwilling to give up Jaylen Brown, who was one of Boston's most reliable players in just his second National Basketball Association season. Magic Johnson and the Lakers have put themselves in a position to sign two and possibly acquire a third max contract. James' shooting percentage from three-point range was the third-best single-season mark of his career.

Meanwhile, James's oldest son, LeBron James Jr., also has two summers to go before he enters high school, and the possible site of those formative years has become part of the free-agency conversation.

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