The Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes has been thought by many to be a two-team race with the Toronto Raptors trying to convince their best player to stay beyond the 2018-2019 season and the Los Angeles Clippers hoping to lure him back to his hometown. The Los Angeles Lakers have been on the periphery of the conversation, but they might have to be included as real contenders for the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said Wednesday that the possibility of Leonard joining the Lakers can’t be ruled out. Smith noted that former team president Magic Johnson had been “working” on getting the All-Star to L.A. since he knows Leonard’s uncle, who appears to have a lot of influence regarding Leonard’s basketball future.

Johnson listed Leonard and Kyrie Irving as the two players the Lakers should pursue this summer when he was on ESPN’s “First Take” Monday.

The Lakers appeared to be the frontrunners for Leonard last offseason when he asked the San Antonio Spurs for a trade. There was even a thought that Los Angeles shouldn’t offer San Antonio too much because they had such a good chance at signing him as a free agent in the 2019 offseason.

Leonard’s success with the Raptors, the Clippers’ level of confidence in their chances of signing Leonard and rumors that the 27-year-old prefers not to play with LeBron James have created the perception over the last year that the Lakers are long shots to land the forward.

Los Angeles’ front-office turmoil might not bode well for their pursuit of a star in free agency, though a lot can change before players can officially switch teams on July 1.

The New York Times’ Marc Stein recently reported that the Clippers are as much of a threat to sign Kevin Durant as the New York Knicks. While the Clippers’ dream scenario is to acquire both Durant and Leonard, the Raptors’ star reportedly might not be on the best terms with the Golden State Warriors’ star because of past comments about Leonard being a “system player.”

What if Durant picks the Clippers? Could that make the Lakers seem like a more attractive option for Leonard is he’s intent on playing his home games in Southern California?

Leonard is currently making a push to reach the NBA Finals as the Raptors battle the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto tied up the series at 2-2 with a Game 4 victory at home.

It’s unknown how Toronto’s playoff run will affect Leonard’s decision. Many have felt Leonard’s departure after one year north of the border has been inevitable. A similar belief was held about Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder before the All-Star decided to stay with Russell Westbrook and Co. instead of joining the Lakers.

Leonard and Irving might still be unlikely to sign with the Lakers, but Los Angeles probably has a much better shot at landing one of them over free agents like Durant and Klay Thompson. Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler are expected to be on the Lakers’ radar if they miss out on the top players available.