The Los Angeles Lakers have put up a very promising young team that has the upside to become major contenders in the coming years. Magic Johnson has high hopes the trio of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma will form the core of a new Lakers dynasty, openly expressing his willingness to wait until these youngsters reach full maturity. A report by The Ringer provided a lot of details used in this article.

But the biggest question is how long Magic would patiently wait for the young Lakers to fulfill their full potential. The process could take four to five years, and there isn’t even an assurance of a championship.

With the Lakers Nation growing very tired of witnessing consecutive losing seasons, Johnson might find the road towards contention a bit too long to endure. The building pressure from the fan base and higher-ups might prompt him to explore other options that would hasten the process at the expense of their assets.

Dreaming of Kawhi

A source close to the situation is reporting that Magic has some level of interest in Kawhi Leonard, whose suddenly rocky relationship with the San Antonio Spurs could pave the way to his eventual exit, either in free agency or via trade. Now, it would be foolish to think of the Spurs trading their franchise player. San Antonio has been a first-class organization for years, and history showed that they always found solutions to any internal rift they have had in the past.

However, if the difference between Kawhi and the Spurs becomes beyond repairable, expect them to ask ‘king’s ransom’ package from potential suitors. The Lakers are one of those teams who would gamble for the two-way stud.

The Package for Kawhi

According to the source, the Lakers would throw in a package centered on former No.

2 overall pick Brandon Ingram, if ever Leonard becomes available in the trade market. The source didn’t detail the exact trade package the Lakers would be willing to give up for Leonard, but it would presumably include Luol Deng’s $17MM per year deal and future draft picks (first-round and second-round picks)

The 20-year-old Ingram has significantly improved his numbers in his second year with the Lakers, averaging 15.6 PPG on 44.9 FG percent and 5.4 RPG.

His defense might still be a work in progress (105.3 defensive rating) but he has the physical tools to become an elite perimeter defender. The encouraging aspect of Ingram’s development is that his upside remains pretty high because his body hasn’t fully matured yet.

Ingram is full of promise and losing him would throw a monkey wrench into the culture the Lakers are establishing right now. However, Leonard represents an opportunity of winning now. When healthy, Leonard is a top-five NBA player who can attract other marquee free agents.

The Lakers organization has been longing for a homegrown talent who can lead the franchise to greater heights. Kawhi can be that player, a silent assassin with a big game mentality just like a certain baller named Kobe Bryant had back in the day. Ingram might be the future, but Leonard is the present for the Lakers.