According to a separate ESPN report, the Lakers are feeling increased pressure to make a deal for Leonard happen as Paul George and LeBron James have progressively murky futures ahead of free agency, which begins Sunday.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Spurs are reportedly only interested in sending the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and former Finals MVP to the Eastern Conference, though Leonard has made it known that he would prefer to land in Los Angeles.
By no means does this indicate Boston is out of the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes.
According to a separate ESPN report, James is unlikely to visit other teams or take an audience with suitors as he did in past free-agent circuits.
The Spurs have wanted to find a way to fix the franchise's relationship with Leonard, but an overwhelming Lakers offer could convince San Antonio to part with its franchise star, league sources said.
In the reporting, Deveney cites a league executive saying that "he expects James to sign with the Lakers, even before the team remakes its roster" even in the midst of buzz that James is communicating with other top-tier players about a partnership.
And the Lakers are desperate to ensure George, who is expected to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer after just one year with the team, heads their way. That certainly plays in favor of the Lakers, as Leonard has stated that's where he wants to play. When Irving first told the Cavaliers he wanted a trade, he gave them a list of four preferred spots: the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat. That's not how Gregg Popovich rolls.
The Spurs do not have to rush to make a deal, as they could potentially wait until the trade deadline to finally pull the trigger.
Another preference by James that could impact free agency, league sources said, is that he wants to make a decision quickly in July free agency.