Should one of them work for both sides, and a trade be agreed upon, the Sixers could theoretically blindside the league by adding James in the aftermath. While Leonard wants to be traded to the Lakers, early talks between the franchise and the Spurs have not got off to a promising start.
As for Embiid and Simmons, it's obvious why they would be excluded from any trade. LeBron James and Paul George are the biggest prizes in free agency, while Kawhi Leonard could become the best player that's traded in almost 15 years. San Antonio is reportedly seeking young players and draft picks. Though Leonard told other teams he wouldn't re-sign with them by the summer of 2019, the Celtics could still trade for Leonard as he has no power of where he goes. Irving had a list of teams he preferred playing for and the Celtics were not one of them, however, he seems very happy with the Celtics as reports state he is "motivated" to sign an extension with the team. "If James signed with LA, he's conceding he won't make the National Basketball Association finals".
If the Lakers were to agree to a contract with George, who opted out of the final year and $20.7 million of his contract with the Thunder, then it would be a clear sign that James is headed to Los Angeles.
George isn't the only free agent the Lakers could target in a pairing with James.
San Antonio has been checking the market to see what kind of return it could get for Leonard, but it's hard to see things working out with the Celtics given the questions surrounding Leonard's health and plans. Harris' role with the Spurs could be similar as San Antonio would use his versatility as their second scoring option behind LaMarcus Aldridge. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, the Spurs and Lakers are talking Leonard again.
The Lakers are in no rush to sign the 25th overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, Michigan forward Mo Wagner, to his rookie scale deal, which would allow the Lakers to include his draft rights into a trade package, league sources said.
The Spurs could find themselves driving up the price for Leonard, as teams grow desperate to trade for him as a means to land James or George.
"I just don't think the Spurs are that motivated to trade Kawhi". Players such as Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson will be free agents next summer.