Kawhi Leonard has a decision to make this summer and multiple reports indicate it will likely come down to the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Raptors have made a strong case because of the success they had as well as proving they could keep him healthy.
“You’ve got to give the Raptors and Masai Ujiri, that organization, all the credit in the world, because when they traded for him, he had no intention of ever staying in Toronto, and now it is a serious consideration. I think he has really given them every opportunity to sell him, and two things that have worked in Toronto: They sold him on health, they proved they could keep him healthy, and they sold him on winning. And those are priorities for Kawhi Leonard. He has shown he is all about winning, Wojnarowski said Tuesday night during ESPN’s Free Agency Special with Zach Lowe.
"We continued to be us and I know he'll continue to be him," Ujiri said Tuesday at a news conference. "I know what we've built here, I'm confident. You see how these things go. I think we have to respect him for that decision that he has to make.”
The Athletic’s Frank Isola reported on Monday that Leonard and the Clippers have a meeting “tentatively” scheduled for July 2.
Given that signs seem to point toward the Raptors or Clippers, could the Los Angeles Lakers also be involved in the Leonard sweepstakes? Or is it a two-team race?
“Yeah. Toronto, the Clippers, and listen, I think they’ve kept their eye on the Lakers and what that’s going to look like. The Lakers, financially, what number are they going to get to in free agency in terms of cap space? Is Anthony Davis going to give up that $4 million trade bonus. He still has time to do that before this deal goes through. But this has been a Raptors/Clippers race,” Wojnarowski said.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Lakers “have believed for weeks” even before they acquired Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans they would factor in to the race for Leonard.
Leonard is widely expected to decline his $21.3 million player option and become a free agent. He can begin negotiating a new deal as of June 30.
He averaged 26.6 points a game during his first season with the Raptors.