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The Los Angeles Lakers are working out Meyers Leonard on Friday to potentially join their roster, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Leonard, a nine-year NBA veteran who has played for the Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat, has been out of the NBA since early 2021, when he used an anti-semitic slur during a video game live stream.

Leonard was suspended indefinitely after the incident in March 2021. He was a member of the Heat at the time, but was quickly traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who acquired him only as salary filler in the bigger Trevor Ariza trade and immediately waived him. He has not played in the NBA since then.

Leonard is the not the first player linked to the Lakers who has been accused of anti-semitism. The team pursued Kyrie Irving in an offseason trade but ultimately failed to acquire him. Earlier this season, Nets guard Kyrie Irving was suspended after sharing a link to an anti-semitic documentary on his social media platforms. Irving is a free agent after the season, and the Lakers were linked to him in trade talks in the offseason. There has been no definitive reporting about whether or not the Lakers plan to pursue him again.

The Lakers have been seeking out big men capable of spacing the floor lately. They will also reportedly work out former All-Star DeMarcus Cousins on Friday. Cousins signed with the Lakers in the 2019 offseason, but never played for them as he suffered an injury in the offseason. 

Anthony Davis, their star big man, is injured and expected to return at some point in the near future. He has played center most of the season, but he publicly stated his preference for the power forward position. A shooting big man would theoretically allow the team to use him as a power forward more often, but given Leonard’s off-court issues, the team would surely face significant backlash if it decides to sign him.

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