Bleacher Report – NBA executives reportedly believe the Los Angeles Clippers hold an edge over the Los Angeles Lakers in the race to land Toronto Raptors superstar forward Kawhi Leonard during the 2019 free-agency period.
Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com surveyed some league executives, who gave the Clippers the edge since Leonard would be able to “have control of his own team” as compared to playing second fiddle to LeBron James with the Lakers.
The San Antonio Spurs traded Leonard to the Raptors in July with one guaranteed season left on his five-year, $94.3 million contract. He can utilize a player option in the deal to become a free agent at season’s end, and speculation has frequently linked the Los Angeles native with a return to L.A.
Despite growing up in the heart of Laker country, Kawhi Leonard was an Allen Iverson fan. That willingness to be different is, in part, what gives Toronto confidence it can keep Leonard from returning to Southern California as a free agent next summer. https://t.co/TEVvlNFlFZ
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 5, 2018
Heartbreaking, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kawhi wants to go home. He’s cool in a weird way, and as much as it blows to hear it after the best start in franchise history, I’d get it if he left.
I think the Raptors are a dark horse to keep him but a pretty distant and very dark horse. Kahwi is a homebody and wants to live a quiet, elementary life, and it doesn’t get easier than living at home.
On the other hand, Toronto is a relatively low key spot for athletes not playing for the Leafs; it’s safer than any city half it’s size in the US. This is Kawhi’s team already. Toronto can give him an extra year, so there’s that. An extra 40 million-ish comes in handy for a guy who’s notoriously cheap.
Coast ➡️ Coast
Kawhi Leonard continues to do MVP-like thingspic.twitter.com/vj4s0qA4i4
— Sporting News Canada (@sportingnewsca) November 3, 2018
Like I said last week, enjoy this season Raptor fans because it’s likely a foregone conclusion.