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September 27, 2021 | 11:00 am EDT Update

Lakers explored trading for Damian Lillard

In the two months that followed their first-round playoff flop against Phoenix, when Davis’ groin injury left them pulling up lame, the Lakers explored the prospect of trading for such stars as Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan and Russell Westbrook. The process unfolded well beyond the team’s front office’s search, with James setting up a war room of his own at his Brentwood estate for some in-person player meetings while leading remote communications in other conversations.
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But as a crowd waited Saturday inside Moreno Valley’s Weston Park to see the basketball court the All-Star had helped donate, one about to be dedicated in his name, Leonard said his travels since leaving the Inland Empire had done little to fray a connection to the city where he spent most of his childhood and the place he feels most rooted in adulthood. “This is where I grew up. When I come here, you get all the memories back in your head, the thoughts of the fun, the downfalls and the uprisings,” Leonard told The Times. “It’s a lot of mixed emotions for me to come out here. My family’s here still, and it’s always a good time when I come back.”