Kawhi Leonard’s upcoming free agency is one of the hottest topics in the NBA offseason, with every single team in the league happily open to adding a guy with two NBA Finals’ MVPs and titles. Of course, not every team has a chance to land the superstar, with only a few having a legit shot at offering him the kind of money and winning situation that appeals to him.
While there have been numerous reports and rumors that have been floated around for the past year or so — which includes reports that Kawhi Leonard could pair up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Los Angeles Lakers — ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski claims there’s only two teams Leonard is seriously considering this summer. But, unfortunately for Lakers fans, it’s that other Los Angeles team that the three-time All-Star would look to join first, the Clippers.
Appearing on Get Up, Woj reported that Kawhi’s free agency decision will likely be pretty simple: re-sign with the champion Toronto Raptors or bolt to join the Los Angeles Clippers.
“The reality is Kawhi Leonard’s focused on Los Angeles, but it’s the Clippers, not the Lakers. No. 1, they don’t have the money to sign him. And two, the idea of him being a third wheel on a team trying to create a superteam, that has not been Kawhi’s M.O. The Clippers are poised to be able to lure him from Toronto. This will be a Raptors-Clippers fight down to the end. He may take meetings with more teams; it’s not even certain he’d even take a meeting with the Lakers right now.”
It would be a major blow to the Lakers if Kawhi Leonard either remains in Toronto or goes to the in-town rival Clippers. While the team did just acquire Anthony Davis to pair with James, they’re in a win-now mode given LeBron’s age — he’ll turn 35 years old in December — so are looking for as many superstars to put on the roster. That might be easier said than done, though, as recent reports suggest the Lakers aren’t likely to get a big-time free agent this summer.
Even after winning the title this year, though, it’s believed that the Raptors “still have work to do” to re-sign the superstar, so Leonard has a tough decision ahead of him.
Kawhi Leonard is a franchise-changing talent who, at 27 years old, is just entering his prime. Whether it’s the Clippers, Raptors or someone else who acquires him this offseason, they’ll be getting, arguably, the best two-way player in the league — so it’ll be interesting to see if he chooses to defend his title with Toronto or go back near where he’s from in Southern California.