Kawhi Leonard has been rumored to be interested in signing with the Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers as an unrestricted free agent for a few months now, and his July trade from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors doesn’t seem to have changed his mindset.
At least not yet.
Here’s what ESPN’s Ian Begley wrote Tuesday on Leonard’s future:
“The Raptors would be able to offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract next summer. If Leonard leaves the Raptors, he could sign a four-year, $141 million deal with a team with the available salary-cap space.
“So far, Leonard’s preference is to sign in Los Angeles with either the Lakers or Clippers next season, sources told (Adrian) Wojnarowski.”
Leonard recently worked out with new Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and others at UCLA, which could hint towards his free agent preference, or mean absolutely nothing.
The Lakers and Clippers both will have enough salary cap space to add a free agent with a max contract next summer, and given Leonard’s tie to Southern California — he was born in L.A. and played college basketball at San Diego State — it wouldn’t be surprising if he left the frigid temperatures of Toronto for the warm environment of Hollywood.
The Raptors have a chance to be really good, though, especially if Leonard is healthy. Toronto might not be Leonard’s preference right now, but the Raptors do have an advantage in that they have all season to convince him to stay.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images