Phoenix Suns make Arizona's DeAndre Ayton NBA Draft's top pick - but it's the destination of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard that have basketball fans buzzing into the off-season

Mail Online | 6/22/2018 | Alex Raskin For Dailymail.com
hi09 (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/06/22/03/4D81FF8D00000578-0-image-a-55_1529633419141.jpg

Thursday night’s NBA Draft was not notable for who went first overall to the Phoenix Suns. Arizona center DeAndre Ayton was virtually assured of going No. 1 weeks before commissioner Adam Silver even called his name at the top of the broadcast.

Rather, it was the immediate future of two absent NBA stars - Cleveland Cavaliers legend LeBron James and, to a lesser extent, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard - who dominated conversations inside of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

James - MVP - NBA - Finals - Defeat

James, the four-time MVP coming off another NBA Finals defeat to the Golden State Warriors, is expected to either opt out of his current contract or use his leverage to force a trade to a contender in pursuit of his fourth title. Leonard, meanwhile, has been unhappy in San Antonio and is reportedly trying to force a deal to the Los Angeles Lakers — although an ESPN report on Friday claimed such a trade is unlikely at the moment.

If the Lakers did somehow acquire Leonard - perhaps by offering prized youngsters Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma - they could entice James to sign a maximum contract, worth upwards of $35 million per season when free agency begins in July. They might even have enough cap space left over to sign Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star and Los Angeles native Paul George, too.

Lakers - Fans - Thursday - Draft - Team

But to the Lakers fans who attended Thursday’s draft, even though their team didn’t have a high pick, Leonard seemed like the obvious first step towards rebuilding one of the NBA’s most celebrated franchises.

It certainly helps the Lakers’ case that James owns a home in Los Angeles and his son, 13-year-old son LeBron 'Bronny' James Jr., is enrolling in a local high school.

76ers - Fans - Lakers - Track - James

Even 76ers fans had to admit that the Lakers have the inside track to acquire James.

‘Right now, probably L.A....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
Wake Up To Breaking News!
How's that peak oil working out for you?
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome to Long Room!

Where The World Finds Its News!