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Coming early this year … it’s Christmas in Lakerdom!Kawhi Leonard wants to be a Laker!LeBron James might want to, too! With Kawhi here, the Lakers could move from co-favorites with Houston into leading contenders!LeBron might still be able to bring yet another big free agent, like his pal, Chris Paul, or Paul George. Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Even before ESPN scoopmaster Adrian Wojnarowski reported – credibly, as ever – that Leonard wants to be traded to the Lakers, a pundit for the Worldwide Leader in Sports had thrown out the fantastic possibility of Kawhi, LeBron and CP3 – all – joining the Lakers.That story, by Kevin Pelton, is speculative … but technically possible.What has changed are the presumed ground rules in the LeBron Derby: The Cavaliers, long aware James might leave, are now expected to seek something back by agreeing to trade him to the team he chooses.Interested teams no longer need to create a $36 million maximum salary slot on their own. The Lakers, who already have close to two max slots, could get LeBron and two more superstars.If the Cavs take back salary along with prospects, what had concerned only a few teams has been broken wide open. The result will be a fantastic level of wheeling and dealing, possibilities, and headlines, such as today’s.Since anyone can say anything, it’s wise to stick with the little that we know … which suggests, at least to me, that Kawhi is exceedingly unlikely to become a Laker.It has long been known that the newly enigmatic Leonard, coming off a season that he largely took off with a minor-looking injury, wants to be a Laker. Wojnarokwsi reported as much months ago.Woj also reported that the Spurs have put their mis-spent season behind them and will sit down with Kawhi in the hope of finding out where his head is and, if still on Earth, wooing him back with the super-maximum $219 million extension only they can offer him.Kawhi’s people have reportedly not conveyed his desire to be traded to the team. Without risking a tampering bust, they can’t have told the Lakers … although the Lakers not only know about it but are assuredly wide-eyed at the prospect, which would take precedence, even over James, who’s seven years older, almost two generations in NBA time.That’s as far as anyone has reported it has gotten, until now with the season’s end and the yawning news hole prompting the speculation that’s now racing ahead of events.This thing still must proceed in steps.• Leonard and the Spurs will presumably meet although no timetable has been reported.They’ll either fall into each others’ arms and agree last season was a big misunderstanding, or not, in which case the team really will shop Kawhi.• If Leonard is leaving, Spurs boss Gregg Popovich will help decide where he’s going, with Kawhi under contract for next season.I can’t imagine Popovich, who is as transparent as he is principled, trading Leonard in a deal that could create another Western Conference super-power … and, worse still, in the person of their old arch-rivals, the Lakers.Related Articles VIDEO: Watch Kyle Kuzma’s game winner and what he said about it Popovich has long cautioned against deals that help West rivals. In a notorious exception in 2007, his trusty GM, R.C. Buford, got him to trade the rights to Luis Scola to Houston. Scola became a Rockets mainstay and the Spurs received nothing from the deal. Popovich is said to have clenched his teeth for months.If seeing Scola in Houston would have been a 1 on the Spurs’ 10-point scale of devastating, Kawhi in a Lakers uniform would be off the charts.Far likelier is a deal to an Eastern Conference team. With Boston sure to be as interested as the Lakers, that could mean San Antonio acquiring a glowing prospect like Jayson Tatum or, perhaps, two, such as Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier.Interestingly, there might be another local option for Leonard if Pop bars the door to the Lakers. … the Clippers, who would presumably offer all they have – take DeAndre Jordan, please – to rebuild around Kawhi.With less fear of building a Clippers dynasty than helping create yet another Lakers dynasty, Popovich might go for that.All this will remain speculation until something actually happens, presumably in July, although more reports from the Worldwide Leader will be along momentarily. Lakers on verge of sealing home court advantage, what does it mean in the NBA bubble? Jubilation, anguish as race for NBA’s Western 8th seed gets as close as ever AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWith a James-Leonard-Paul nucleus, it wouldn’t even matter if LeBron is getting up there at 33 and Paul gets hurt every spring. They could just play LeBron 50 games during the season, and let CP3 take the whole thing off and just play in the postseason!Oh, right, and then there’s real life.What’s the difference between “headlines” and “events?”In an “event,” something happens.In a “headline,” nothing has to happen. Morning Wrap: Full coverage from Lakers-Clippers thriller; Angels, Dodgers going in different directions; Whicker pays tribute to legendary Mike Gillespie Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error VIDEO: LeBron James and Doc Rivers respond to Donald Trump calling NBA kneeling protests “disgraceful”