Sides have contact, but Celtics remain far away from landing Kawhi Leonard

Lakers Rumors: LA's Pitch to Sign Paul George Has Been Revealed

A Lakers Fan Has Put Up 40 (Yes, 40) Billboards to Recruit Paul George

In the latest twist to the Kawhi Leonard saga, ESPN is reporting that "pressure is mounting" on the Los Angeles Lakers to make a deal to acquire the disgruntled San Antonio Spurs all-NBA forward.

If the San Antonio Spurs get serious about trading Kawhi Leonard, the Celtics, according to multiple league sources, would like to be involved. George is reportedly "seriously considering" a return to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but has not ruled out the Lakers either. The uncertainty with regards to Leonard's health and his vague level of assurance that he would stay with his team after the 2018-19 season are making it hard for the Celtics to come up with the right configuration of assets they would assemble together in a trade package for San Antonio.

With free agency on the horizon, the Lakers reportedly are feeling increased pressure to complete a trade for Leonard in order to lure LeBron James. 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.

But if a team like the Lakers is desperate to land Leonard, then it could help the Spurs. George had only one season remaining on his deal when the Pacers traded him last summer.

Another preference by James that could impact free agency, league sources said, is that he wants to make a decision quickly in July free agency. If other teams want Leonard, then they, too, have to race the Lakers for him.

The Celtics have plenty of possible options in making an offer for Leonard. The price for Leonard would have to include some combination of Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and more.

The Celtics could likely trump any trade offer for Leonard, with their vast collection of future first-round draft picks and a current roster littered with young and promising talent.

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