According to ESPN, the team feels pressure to get a deal done before Friday when LeBron James will be forced to make a decision regarding the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. If Los Angeles and San Antonio can agree on a trade, it could greatly increase the chances of James choosing to become a free agent and signing a deal with the Lakers.
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. The Spurs have acknowledged their fractured relationship with Leonard, but general manager R.C. Buford recently said the team's first option would be to retain the 26-year-old All-Star.
If Leonard does, however, make his intentions of heading to L.A.in 2019 free agency clear enough, it could scare off other teams. The Lakers could have to surrender a combination of former first-round picks - from Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart - and future first-round picks and perhaps restricted free agent Julius Randle in a sign-and-trade agreement. Boston's ability to offer San Antonio future draft picks and promising young players, along with their location in the East, might make the Celtics the Spurs' ideal trade partner. Even the fact that someone is registered doesn't necessarily guarantee that they'll attend, with the Los Angeles-based TMZ likely offering hype to its home market. He did not return to the court after the Spurs' team doctors cleared him to do so, waiting to play on advisement of his own, outside medical team.