On the surface, it seemed the Los Angeles Lakers and Kawhi Leonard were a match made in heaven. This is largely why many believed, just a few short months ago, that it was somewhat of a foregone conclusion that Leonard would join the Lakers. The thought of the 27-year-old teaming up with LeBron James was exciting, intriguing, fun, and attention-grabbing.
It was everything the Los Angeles spotlight is supposed to be. Only, none of that sounds like what the Toronto Raptors star forward wants.
After Leonard was dealt from the San Antonio Spurs, the speculation has only ramped up on his future outlook. But most recently, a bit of interesting information came to light on that subject and it points him away from the Lakers.
In a story written by The Athletic’s Blake Murphy, he cites that the front office showing little interest in being patient with their longterm plan may hurt their chances at Leonard.
“The Los Angeles Lakers boast LeBron James and the greatest marketing advantage in the sport, but there are some around the league who feel that James’ shadow looms too large and that the impatience the Lakers are already showing with their four-year plan could erode their sales pitch.”
Lakers’ Appeal to Kawhi Leonard
The first concern here is evaluating just how much the current situation with the Lakers impacts Leonard. After all, if any kind of dysfunction or lack of consistency from a franchise is a huge concern for the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, then he’s surely not a fan of what he’s watching.
But the biggest issue the Lakers may have in the recruitment of Leonard is the topic of playing in James’ shadow. If he were to head to Los Angeles and team up with LeBron, it’s nearly impossible to envision a world where he’s not playing second fiddle. Based on those two factors, it may be wise to expect that Leonard winds up wearing a jersey other than one that’s purple and gold in 2019.