The NBA has gone into a frenzy in just the first day of the 2019 NBA free agency. Several NBA superstars have decided to leave their respective teams to start a new journey somewhere else, including Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets), Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), and D’Angelo Russell (Golden State Warriors). As of now, there is one big name on the free agency market that everyone in the league is keeping an eye on – reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Despite winning the 2019 NBA championship title, Kawhi Leonard doesn’t seem to be fully committed to returning to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019-20 NBA season. Leonard isn’t closing his doors regarding a Raptors’ return, but he first wants to hear the free agency pitches from his two hometown teams – the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. In a Twitter post, Kendrick Perkins revealed that between the two teams situated in Los Angeles, the Purple and Gold “hold the upper hand” in the Leonard sweepstakes.
“Just heard that Kawhi is meeting with the Clippers tonight but the Lakers hold the upper hand, unless Doc work his Magic tonight it’s looking very strong that Kawhi will be in Purple and Gold!!!”
It’s hardly a surprise why the Lakers are emerging as the front-runners to sign Kawhi Leonard and not the Clippers. Adding Leonard to the Clippers’ roster will undeniably make them a team to fear in the Western Conference next season, but by joining the Purple and Gold “The Klaw” will have the opportunity to play alongside two of the best active players in the league – LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The potential “Big Three” of Leonard, James, and Davis would make the Lakers the No. 1 favorite to fully dominate Western Conference and take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2019-20 NBA season.
"Pairing (Kawhi) Leonard with LeBron James and Anthony Davis would give the Lakers, even with the most conservative estimates, three of the 10 best players on the planet — an unprecedented amount of talent," writes @DanWoikeSports. https://t.co/1RL9vza5gx
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) July 2, 2019
Since the 2018 NBA offseason, Kawhi Leonard has been heavily linked to the Lakers. When he demanded a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard reportedly informed interested teams that he would only be signing with the Lakers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. The Lakers tried to acquire Leonard last summer, but during that time, Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs didn’t have any interest in trading “The Klaw” to Los Angeles.
As of now, nothing is final until Kawhi Leonard officially inks a new contract. Though multiple signs are pointing out that he’s Lakers-bound, Leonard is still planning to hear the free agency pitch from the Clippers and the Raptors. In an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, which is currently posted on Twitter, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed that Leonard may wait until the end of the week to make his free agency decision.