The Lakers controversy continued this week when Magic Johnson gave an explosive interview just hours before Frank Vogel’s inaugural press conference as the new head coach.
Johnson’s comments were lambasted by many as being detrimental to the Lakers’ chances of attracting free agents this summer.
It has been widely reported that many of the marquee free agents are set to snub the Lakers in free agency, with the New York Knicks, LA Clippers and Brooklyn Nets seemingly ahead of them in the queue.
Players such as Kevin Durant, Irving and Leonard have all been suggested to favour moves elsewhere.
But ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reports there is still a chance that the Lakers could land a ready-made All-Star to play alongside LeBron James.
He adds that Irving has been in constant conversation with Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, while Johnson was already working on a plan to lure Leonard to the franchise before his abrupt departure.
“Kobe’s been talking to Kyrie,” he said on the Stephen A. Smith show.
“Obviously you know Kobe and Kyrie are very close.
“Kobe’s been talking to Kyrie. We don’t know if Kyrie would consider the Lakers.
“Although I’ve been told by folks close to Kyrie there ain’t no way in hell he’s going to the Lakers to join LeBron, but I’m being told don’t rule that out.
“Kawhi Leonard to the Lakers.
“I’m being told don’t rule that out.
“In fact I have it on pretty good authority that’s something Earvin Magic Johnson himself was working on because he knows the uncle of Kawhi Leonard.
“So we can’t rule that out with the Lakers.
“Of course the Clippers think they got a shot at Kawhi and now Brooklyn think they now got a shot at Kyrie and Kevin Durant because they’re anticipating having enough cap space for two max players as well, which was the impetus and motivation behind the New York Knicks ultimately trading KP to clear $41million in cap space so they would have over $73m available and they’d be able to get two max players.”