Last summer, the Toronto Raptors took a huge risk when they traded their most loyal player, DeMar DeRozan, to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for a possible one-year rental, Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors proved to everyone in the league that they made the right decision after Leonard helped them bring home the first Larry O’Brien Trophy to Toronto in the 2018-19 NBA season. As of now, the Raptors are focused on bringing Leonard back in the 2019 NBA free agency.
Despite winning the NBA championship title, Kawhi Leonard has not given an assurance that he will be re-signing with the Raptors this summer. Leonard is not closing his doors regarding a potential Raptors’ return, but he also wants to hear the free agency pitches from his two hometown teams – the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. In an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Monday, which is currently posted on Twitter, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN revealed that Leonard is “seriously considering” joining the Lakers in free agency.
“I have received word that he is seriously considering the Los Angeles Lakers,” Smith said, as quoted by NESN. “The Clippers are very, very nervous right now, and obviously, in the case of the Toronto Raptors, he wants to grant you a meeting, but why should he even require a meeting? He just won a championship with them. He played with them for the last year, so you’re going to listen to their pitch or whatever, but I don’t see why they would need to have a pitch. So it comes down to Toronto or one of the L.A. teams.”
Yahoo Sources: Kawhi Leonard intends to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers when free agency commences. https://t.co/dYjf4oSBy1
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 27, 2019
Kawhi Leonard has been heavily linked to the Lakers since the 2018 NBA offseason. When he demanded a trade from the Spurs, there were rumors that Leonard had informed interested teams that he would be only signing with the Lakers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. The Lakers may have suffered a huge disappointment in the 2018-19 NBA season, but it will definitely not be a surprise if Leonard is really interested in signing with them this summer.
Leaving the Raptors for the Lakers will give Kawhi Leonard the opportunity to team up with two of the best active players in the league – Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The “Big Three” of Leonard, James, and Davis will undeniably make the Lakers the top favorite to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title next season.
After trading Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards, the Lakers have created enough salary cap space to sign a max free agent this summer. Aside from Kawhi Leonard, other potential free-agent targets for the Lakers, include Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, and Kemba Walker.