Kawhi Leonard is one of the many free agents available during the NBA offseason, this summer.
Will he stay in Toronto or will he go elsewhere?
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, NBA writer, Ric Bucher weighed the pros and cons with me.
Check out the excerpt of our chat on Leonard from the Scoop B Radio Podcast below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Scoop B Radio on the line with Ric Bucher, NBA insider, writer at Bleacher Report, senior writer at Bleacher Report, talking all things NBA. We talked about Kawhi Leonard, the guy with the laugh that everybody uses in memes now. The Toronto Raptors, as you said, have been consistent. Do you see a scenario, first and foremost, if the Toronto Raptors were to make the NBA Finals, they’d be the first non-U.S. tea to appear in the NBA Finals, Canada is our neighbor in North America, but let’s say, hypothetically, the Raptors win the NBA Finals. Do you see a situation where he’d still leave?
Ric Bucher: Yes. Yes. Now, I think certainly, simply because it depends on where he’s going and what they’re offering. If he’s looking at the Clippers, and I would think that, I mean if he leaves, my expectation is simply that’s where he’d go. He’s looking at these bombers and he’s looking at a team that from the get go will be built around him and he’s going to be where he wants to be and he’s going to be the centerpiece as much as Toronto has catered to him, it’s a little bit, again, it’s like the uniqueness of LeBron going to Dwyane Wade and joining Dwyane Wade in Miami. It was Dwyane Wade’s team and LeBron, on some level, was okay with that, Dwyane was willing to say, ‘LeBron, I want it to be your team. Kyle Lowry, from everything that I’ve heard, not excited that the Toronto Raptors are catering to Kawhi Leonard to the levels that they are. Now, I don’t know whether they’ve gotten past that, but I know at one point, it was that that was a little bit of a sticking point and that relationship between Kawhi and Kyle, I haven’t been around them in person for a while, so I can’t honestly tell you where their relationship is if it’s evolved, but you know, the friendship between Wade and LeBron had a huge influence, just like the friendship that evolved, and maybe this is an indication that something could happen with Kyle and Kawhi developing an understanding, although they don’t strike me as being really the same kind of guys, but we saw Russ and Paul George, you know, guys from LA, guys that came to appreciate each other, guys that developed a friendship over last season, that ultimately made Paul George more than comfortable staying in Oklahoma City and continue to play with Russ.
That relationship had as much to do with anything else in Paul George’s decision. Could that happen with Kawhi and Kyle? It could, but you know, from what I know from early on, it didn’t start that way, and so I just think that Kawhi’s looking at this and saying, ‘I won a ring in San Antonio, I went through that, a little bit like KD with the Warriors, goes to Toronto and he gets to the NBA finals. Okay, but now what I really want to do is, I want to be at the heart of a team and I want to see it built and raised up around me. That’s what I want to do before my NBA career is though’, he’s certainly got a better chance of doing that with the Clippers then he would in Toronto, even with the idea that if they get to the finals, you look around they’ve got young Pascal Siakam and you look at the various pieces that they have and what the Raptors have been willing to commit to make it happen, and you can say, ‘man, I could be LeBron for, like, that next five years. I can be in the NBA finals on a perennial basis.’ I think that’s some of what has KD intrigued with New York. The bar to cross is not that high, and if anybody that sees themselves as LeBron-like looks at the Eastern Conference like, ‘man, he did it for seven, eight years in a row. I’m in the right place at the right time, who’s to say I couldn’t do the same thing in the Eastern Conference?’