Odds of Kawhi Leonard Re-Signing with the Raptors Starting to Increase
At first, it seemed like an absolute long shot.
Kawhi Leonard is on a pit stop on his way to Los Angeles – be it to the Lakers or the Clippers. Much like San Antonio, reports from various sources claimed that Leonard had no interest in playing north of the border. Then, after a day or two, a report came up that the former Finals MVP is opening up to the idea of suiting up for the Toronto Raptors.
Welcome to the North pic.twitter.com/FWy6huVI9l
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) July 20, 2018
Now, the Raptors may even have a chance of landing the big fish in next year’s free agency.
“He (Kawhi) has not expressed that he doesn’t want to play in Canada to me,” Raptors’ team executive Masai Ujiri said in a press conference last week. “I think there’s a lot to sell here: our team, our culture, our city, our ownership. We have everything here except a championship, in my humble opinion.
“That’s my job. That’s why I am in this seat. To try to figure that part out. I’ve had conversations with Kawhi, his agent and his uncle and everything has gone well. I’m looking forward to meeting them.”
The Raptors met with Leonard on Friday and an official press conference should be expected at some point this week after all physicals come out clean. Dennis Robertson, Leonard’s advisor and uncle was on hand to meet Ujiri and Raptors’ GM Bobby Webster.
Yesterday a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune gave Raptors fans even better news:
“Here’s what someone who knows Leonard as well as anybody told me privately: ‘He’s going to fall in love with Toronto – it’s going to happen. He’s not going to leave, I’m telling you.’”
This is not a carbon copy of the Paul George situation, but the Lakers could have traded for Kawhi if only they gave the Spurs enough, but opted to play the waiting game in hopes of convincing Leonard to come join them in free agency. Maybe the ship has sailed and the Raptors may very well have the step up on the entire NBA.