LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard playing together would "absolutely" work for the Los Angeles Lakers next season, according to former NBA champion Richard "Rip" Hamiton.

Leonard will kick off the Toronto Raptors chapter of his career when he makes his official debut Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their NBA season opener.

It could be a short stay in Toronto though, as the 27-year-old can become a free agent in the summer and join any team of his choosing. Before his trade away from the San Antonio Spurs earlier this summer, it was expected he would be traded to the Lakers or at least, join them in free agency in 2019.

However, reports later on stated he had a change of heart as he did not want to play second fiddle to James, with the Clippers now being his main preference.

With other stars like Jimmy Butler having also been reported to not wanting to play alongside James, it begged the question as to whether Leonard and James would work together if the duo were to become teammates.

But for Hamilton, who won the 2004 NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons, he believes it is certainly possible as James is more than happy with taking a backseat at times.

“Absolutely. I think it will," Hamilton told The Express. “LeBron has played with other great players. He played with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He understood he needed to take a backseat sometimes and let the other guy get off."

“He doesn’t have a problem going out there and being a point forward — and allowing Kawhi to do what he does. I always look at it like the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen scenario, Kawhi is a guy that takes on challenges on the defensive end. He’s long and lengthy and he can be very beneficial to that team," he said.

The Raptors are confident they can persuade Leonard to stay beyond 2019, however. There is a belief that if the Toronto franchise were to do well this season, particularly with James leaving the Eastern Conference, Leonard may stay on.

In addition, the Raptors can offer him a five-year, $190 million contract if he decides to stay, with the Los Angeles native standing to make less in a four-year deal if he leaves elsewhere. However, Hamilton is not so convinced.

“San Antonio had enough for him to stay. It’s a situation where Kawhi will do what’s best for him and his family," he added. “He’s been hearing all the rumours that he wants to go back to L.A., the same thing we heard about LeBron and he ended up going."

“This season is going to be very interesting. I don’t see the Toronto Raptors winning a championship this year. At best, they could be second in the east, Boston are the best in the east. It all depends on what he wants for his legacy and where does he want to be at this stage of his career,” Hamilton said.