LeBron James, Anthony Davis reflect on Lakers' failed bid to land Kawhi Leonard

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There will be plenty of connections on the court when the Los Angeles Lakers face the LA Clippers on opening night Tuesday.

Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue, who used to coach LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, walked away from an offer to coach the Lakers this summer.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel used to have Clippers forward Paul George on his team with the Indiana Pacers.

Clippers guardPatrick Beverleywas once cut by the Miami Heat when James was on the team.

Yet the talk after shootaround Tuesday focused on a pursuit that failed to connect -- James and the Lakers' attempt to land Kawhi Leonard in free agency before the star forward chose the Clippers.

James said he believed the Lakers would add Leonard to a team that already featured him and Anthony Davis "because I'm a positive guy," admitting he envisioned what that Big Three would look like.

"You ask me was I getting excited about it? I don't get too excited until things actually happen, but I thought we had a chance," James said. "That's all you can ask for. We put ourselves in position to have a chance to get [Leonard]. When he went to the Clippers, I thought that was just as cool. It was great for our league, and he had to do what was best for him. And we all respect that."

James wouldn't offer up much more than that.

"Um, we don't really talk about what happens on my phone," James quipped when asked what he said to Leonard during the recruitment process.

As for what ultimately swayed Leonard to sign with L.A.'s other NBA team?

"Man, how the hell can I answer that? I don't f---ing know," James said with an incredulous grin. "I don't know. I don't know. Ask Kawhi."

Davis was slightly more revelatory, rehashing his role in trying to pry Leonard from the Toronto Raptors, which he first explained to ESPN earlier this month.

"It was fun just to go through it, for me, with a player like Kawhi, trying to recruit him to come here. It was fun," Davis said. "We had one conversation, and I think he came out with a statement, or his uncle or something ... somebody said he don't really like all the recruitment and all that stuff, so I felt like I overstepped my boundaries.

"But it was a fun process. I would do it all over."

Davis said he hasn't communicated with Leonard since their summer dalliance. And like James, he has moved on from what could have been.

"He can do whatever he wants, obviously," Davis said of Leonard. "We thought that we had a chance, but he made a decision and we're going to face him tonight. He's a hell of a player, they've got a great team over there, so it should be fun."

It could be the start of an intense rivalry for Davis and Leonard.

Davis, 26, has one year left on his contract with the Lakers. Leonard, 28, can opt out of his Clippers contract in two seasons. Time will tell if the two of them will put down roots in Los Angeles.

In the meantime, they'll have four nationally televised matchups this season to compete for their home turf.

"It'll be fun," Davis said. "But we have a whole year to clash out and see who is the last one standing."

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