NBA free agency: LeBron James has started recruiting Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler to Lakers, report says

Magic Johnson couldn't tamper with other team's players when he was the president of the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James sure as heck can, and according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, that's exactly what LeBron has already started doing as he tries to get the Lakers a head start on a few of this summer's prized free agents.

In appearance on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" on Thursday, Windhorst said that James has already been in contact with upcoming free agents Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.

You have to wonder if Kyrie Irving will also be getting a phone call soon. As Windhorst speaks to, whatever differences Kyrie and LeBron had during their falling out in Cleveland would perhaps be minor obstacles as neither has found anywhere near the same success in their solo ventures as they had with one another. 

The Lakers have enough salary cap room to add one max free agent this summer, and have enough young pieces, including this year's No. 4 overall draft pick, to presumably swing a deal for another marquee player -- whether that be Anthony Davis or a more secondary star like Bradley Beal -- should they decide to go that route. 

That said, the Lakers are a mess right now. The front office is still reeling from the atomic bomb Magic Johnson dropped and the stability of the franchise is very much in question. The only thing the Lakers really have to sell at this point is playing with LeBron James. He's their whole pitch, so why wouldn't LeBron make the pitch himself? He'll be entering his 17th season and he knows the Lakers have no chance of competing for a title without at least one, and probably two significant roster upgrades. Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler would certainly represent that kind of upgrade. 

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