NBA free agency is set to get underway officially on Sunday, and many eyes will be on the free agency decision of Kawhi Leonard, who recently won an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors.
The favorites for Leonard’s services appear to be his current team, the Raptors, and the Los Angeles Clippers, and reports this week, per The Big Lead, say Leonard has a meeting scheduled for July 2 with the Clippers. The two New York teams — the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets — have also been mentioned as possible landing spots for Leonard, with differing media reports having different things to say about who has the best chance to land the star forward.
There have also occasionally been rumblings that Leonard might want to consider the Los Angeles Lakers, where he could team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to form a new “big three.”
Don’t expect that to happen, though, according to a new report.
Chris Broussard of Fox Sports Radio said on his show this week that the Lakers are “out” on Leonard.
Not only could the Lakers not offer as much as Toronto could as his current team, but the Lakers — due to the structure and timing of their trade for Anthony Davis — have a limited amount of salary cap space. As such, Leonard would be required to take significantly less money in order to join a team in which he would likely be the second or third option on offense. This likely would not be the case if he stayed in Toronto or jumped to the Clippers.
????️@Chris_Broussard: “Let me give you some inside information I’ve been told…
––The Lakers are OUT and have no chance of getting Kawhi. Even if they clear up enough cap room, they’re not getting him––
…I’m told the CLIPPERS are the frontrunner.” https://t.co/Ec0ualgGRn
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) June 25, 2019
Broussard went on to say that it’s between the Raptors and Clippers for Leonard’s services and disagreed with unnamed “executives around the league” who have said that the Raptors are the frontrunners to keep Kawhi.
“I believe he’s coming to the Clippers,” Broussard added.
Broussard and his co-host, Rob Parker, went on to predict that Leonard will receive a standing ovation when he theoretically returns to Toronto next year in a Clippers uniform.
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that Leonard’s teammate, Kyle Lowry, will not be directly recruiting him to stay with the Raptors.
“I’d love him to stay. But he’s my friend. And I always say this in this business, you don’t have that much choice in happiness sometimes.’
Leonard, a Los Angeles native, demanded a trade from his previous team, the San Antonio Spurs, last summer. Instead of the Lakers and Clippers, Leonard was traded to Toronto and went on to lead the Raptors to the first championship in franchise history.