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NBA Rumors: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Kevin Durant

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The start to free agency creeps closer and closer.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

We are only a couple days away from the start of NBA Free Agency on July 1 and the rumors continue to heat up, especially involving some of the bigger names.

As noted earlier Thursday, Paul George declined the final year of his contract making him an unrestricted free agent. While several teams will pursue the five-time All-Star, the front-runners appear to be the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kawhi Leonard trade talk has heated up again with San Antonio talking with several teams, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

In addition to the Lakers and Celtics the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, and LA Clippers have also made offers for Leonard according to a report by Wojnarowski along with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, and Brian Windhorst:

Leonard has been adamant that he doesn’t want to step into the San Antonio locker room again, and the Spurs have been adamant that they won’t be forced into a trade, or a timetable, prior to the February trading deadline, league sources said. No team talking with the Spurs about Leonard has found them to be in a rush to make a deal.

According to SI.com’s Jake Fisher, “San Antonio has informed teams its preferred target in any Leonard trade is the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum.” In his report, Fisher also laid out a trade package discussed by the 76ers and Spurs:

One team source says preliminary discussions with San Antonio revealed the Spurs have strong interest in a package involving burgeoning forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington as well as a future first-round pick. A potential, more serious offer that Philadelphia is weighing internally includes Saric and Covington and the 2021 Miami Heat unprotected first-round pick the Sixers obtained in their draft-night deal with the Phoenix Suns.

Jordan Schultz of Yahoo! Sports reports Leonard reached out to LeBron James about playing together (presumably with the Lakers):

As noted by Wojnarowski, Shelburne, and Windhorst a Laker deal for Leonard could involve Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and more:

The price for Leonard would be substantial. The Lakers could have to surrender a combination of former first-round picks -- from Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart -- and future first-round picks and perhaps restricted free agent Julius Randle in a sign-and-trade agreement.

The pressure to get a deal done would be on the Lakers, not the Spurs:

Steven A. Smith reported on ESPN’s First Take that James had texted Kevin Durant about joining him in LA. Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, however, refuted that report:

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin is reporting that Cleveland is picking up Kendrick Perkins’ option as a potential contract to trade:

In other news, the Dallas Mavericks continue to have interest in LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, according to Yahoo’s Shams Charania:

Charania is also reporting that Houston Rockets wing Trevor Ariza is planning on meeting with teams once free agency opens:

Wojnarowski noted the Indiana Pacers may target Orlando Magic restricted free agent Aaron Gordon:

Another interesting restricted free agent is the Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune expects the Sacramento Kings to make a run at the 23-year-old:

Indian Pacers forward Thaddeus Young will not be entering free agency. The veteran has exercised his player option with $13.7 million, according to Wojnarowski: