Kawhi Leonard was the talk of the NBA offseason due to his drama with the San Antonio Spurs and the drama that followed the drama. When everything was said and done, the Toronto Raptors were able to pull off a blockbuster trade to acquire Leonard in a deal that sent DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs.
Since the trade, rumors have been swirling that Leonard will end up leaving the Raptors following the 2018-19 season. His contract runs out at the end of the year and he will have the opportunity to test free agency. Leonard has been connected heavily to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
According to a report from Jabari Young on TSN Radio, there is an increasing chance that Leonard could end up re-signing with the Raptors instead of leaving for L.A.
“Based off of me talking to people within his circle, they’re going to go into this thing with an open mind and give this thing every last opportunity to work. And at the end of the day, if that’s the case, then it would be great if he stays. Obviously, I think part of his mind, yes, let’s keep real: I think he still feels like L.A. might be the destination. At the same time, he plans to go into this thing with an open mind, giving it every single shot in the world to make it work.”
Last season with the Spurs, Leonard missed the majority of the season due to nagging injury issues. San Antonio thought he was capable of playing, but Leonard and his doctors did not.
Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker both decided to speak publicly about their opinions on the injury. To say that Leonard took offense to the public comments would be an understatement.
Back in the 2016-17 season, Leonard began showing true superstar talent. He averaged 25.5 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals. Leonard shot 48.5 percent from the field overall and knocked down 38.0 percent from the three-point line.
Toronto can offer Leonard quite a few intriguing things. First and foremost, they can offer the Eastern Conference, which is wide open following LeBron James’ departure. Secondly, they offer him a solid all-around supporting cast, with Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Jonas Valanciunas leading the way.
The draw of Los Angeles is always intriguing for star players, but Toronto could be a comfortable long-term home for Leonard. Fans in Toronto are passionate about the Raptors and will welcome Leonard with open arms.
All of that being said, expect to see the Raptors have a good season with Leonard leading the way. Whether he decides to stay or not will be a question that no one will know the answer to until free agency opens up.