Kawhi Leonard was traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, but will the superstar forward ever play a game for Canada’s lone NBA team?
Later on Wednesday, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News added further information about Leonard’s willingness (or lack thereof) to suit up for the Raptors next season.
“And, league sources told Sporting News, Leonard has no interest in playing for the Raptors,” Deveney wrote. “There have been indications that he would sit out the entire season if necessary, and though that step would be drastic and unprecedented in today’s game, Toronto has forced the situation into uncharted territory by acquiring a player who has made it clear he does not want to be there.”
Leonard is entering the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He reportedly prefers to play in Los Angeles for the Lakers or Clippers.
The Raptors are not a legitimate NBA Finals contender and aren’t higher than the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference pecking order (and maybe even the Philadelphia 76ers, too).
But sitting out an entire season almost certainly would do massive damage to his reputation, especially among fans. And if he really wants to land a max contract next summer, it would be wise of him to play and prove to teams that the quad injury that kept him out of all but nine games last season is not a reason for concern.
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