Kawhi Leonard’s reported preference won’t necessarily rule his destiny.
The Toronto Raptors forward is open minded about re-signing with the team, instead of leaving as a free agent following the 2018-19 season, The San Antonio Express-News’ Jabari Young reported Wednesday during his appearance on the “TSN OverDrive podcast, citing people in the player’s inner circle. The Toronto chapter of Leonard’s career will begin next month, and while most rumors claim he’ll join his hometown Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers next summer, he and his camp reportedly aren’t rushing to that decision.
“Based off of me talking to people within his circle, they’re going to go into this thing with an open mind and give this thing every last opportunity to work,” Young said. “And at the end of the day, if that’s the case, then it would be great if he stays. Obviously, I think part of his mind, yes, let’s keep real: I think he still feels like L.A. might be the destination. At the same time, he plans to go into this thing with an open mind, giving it every single shot in the world to make it work.”
If the Raptors contend to win the Eastern Conference and reach the NBA finals, Leonard might reconsider his reported preference to play with the Lakers or Clippers.
Toronto also has another winning card to play: it can offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract next summer, while another team can offer him just a four-year, $141 million deal. The $49 million difference would keep just about anybody’s mind open.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images