The free agent news surrounding Kawhi Leonard has been quiet, but one reporter says the Los Angeles Lakers believe they are in the lead for the reigning NBA Finals MVP.

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The New York Times’ Marc Stein continues to report that the Lakers remain confident in their pursuit of Leonard. He said on Tuesday that they believe they are in the lead, largely thanks to assurances and recruiting efforts from Magic Johnson and LeBron James.


The Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Toronto Raptors are believed to be the three teams in contention for Kawhi. Leonard reportedly plans to meet with the Raptors last, giving the team he won a championship with the final chance to woo him. Several NBA free agents are waiting to find out what Kawhi does before signing with a team.

While signing with the Lakers would form the latest superteam, for the LA native, going home makes the most sense. The Lakers’ selling point to Kawhi is simple. LeBron is entering his 17th season, so the future of the Lakers would be in his and Anthony Davis’s hands. While it’s a sold sales pitch, Kawhi hasn’t said anything and is keeping his poker face to himself.