Kawhi Leonard found himself atop the basketball world at the conclusion of the 2018-19 NBA season. Now, the star forward will be the king of the offseason.
Leonard’s first season in Toronto couldn’t have been more successful, as the 27-year-old led the Raptors to their first championship in franchise history and claimed Finals MVP in the process. Toronto, which initially was viewed as a pit stop for Leonard, suddenly has put itself in position to keep The Klaw long term.
In fact, Cris Carter reported Monday on FS1’s “First Things First” the Raptors currently are the frontrunner to sign Leonard this summer. But according to the Hall of Fame wideout, Toronto will have to fend off both New York teams as well as the pair of Los Angeles franchises in order to re-sign Leonard.
The Lakers, despite having the salary cap space to sign the three-time All-Star, wouldn’t make much sense for Leonard, who likely would struggle to co-exist with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Clippers, on the other hand, seemingly are a legitimate superstar away from competing for a title and would allow the L.A. native to return to his roots.
As for the Knicks and Nets, the bulk of the chatter in recent weeks has centered around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But with the former likely sidelined for the entire 2019-20 season due to an Achilles injury, it wouldn’t be shocking if either franchise elected to change course and go all in on Leonard.
And while re-signing with the Raptors probably is the least glamorous move Leonard could make, it just might be the safest bet as far as winning is concerned. It would be very on-brand for the soft-spoken superstar, too.
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