There’s no denying that current Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard will be one of the main targets for many NBA teams during 2019 free agency, assuming he opts out of his deal. After the San Antonio Spurs traded their disgruntled star to the Raptors, it was unknown whether or not Leonard would consider re-signing with the team.
While we have a full year before that decision has to be made, there’s no denying the link between the 27-year-old star and a possible return to Los Angeles. Leonard was born and raised in Los Angeles, and early rumblings had him hopeful to land with either the Lakers or Clippers in a trade.
That didn’t happen, of course, but on ESPN analyst Adrian Wojnarowski’s recent episode of The Woj Pod, he revealed both Los Angeles teams will have a real chance at landing Leonard. Wojnarowski then revealed how the ideal situation would look for the Clippers, and it involves the LeBron James-led Lakers turning into a “circus.”
“If I’m the Clippers, this is what I hope happens in L.A. – I hope that the Lakers are a circus. That the guys they brought in around LeBron, I don’t know if drama will be the word, I don’t know if it will be drama, but who knows how it’ll go with all those guys.” Wojnarowski stated.
The NBA analyst continued by revealing that Leonard doesn’t like drama or the “media onslaught” that comes along with it.
“That’s what the Lakers have to be concerned about, because Kawhi doesn’t love that part of it. He doesn’t like the drama and the circus. Part of when he left San Antonio after Tony Parker’s public comments – he didn’t want to be around for that sort of media onslaught. And it’s not anywhere near in San Antonio the way it is in L.A. or the way they get treated nationally. Everything is amplified with the Lakers.” Wojnarowski continued.
Wojnarowski continued on his podcast by speaking about this scenario being the Clippers’ “best chance” at Leonard aside from taking care of their own situation and continuing to build their roster. From there, the thought is that the Clippers could convince the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year to sign, but also put the option for the Clippers to sign another star either next offseason or the following to play alongside him.
Whether or not these hopes are realistic remains to be seen, but the appeal of Los Angeles has to weigh fairly heavily on the small forward. It’s also worth noting that this is a moot point unless Leonard opts out next offseason, which seems likely, even if he does re-sign with the Raptors. As Spotrac reveals, the long-time Spurs star would make more than $21.329 million next season if he chose to stay under contract.