The upcoming free agency decision for Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard is drawing more and more attention as the offseason gets closer. And Milwaukee Bucks fans were more than willing to taunt Leonard about it during Friday’s game, referencing his potential move to join either the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers.
Turn the volume up, but you can hear fans in the background chanting at Leonard that “L.A.’s calling” as he stepped to the free throw line, courtesy of Bleacher Report.
This not only stems from the rumors of Leonard potentially leaving the Raptors this offseason and considering either the Lakers or Clippers but goes back to his original trade request.
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Kawhi Leonard’s Initial Interest in Lakers & Clippers
Among the early short list of teams where Leonard reportedly had interest in going, the Lakers and Clippers were assumed to be near the very top. This wasn’t all that surprising considering Leonard was born and raised in Los Angeles while opting to play his college ball on the West Coast also at San Diego State University.
But while a big decision for Leonard is looming this offseason, it’s unknown whether he’ll leave the Raptors and sign with one of the two Los Angeles teams, or go an entirely different route. The rumors have flown in from all angles, and as Bleacher Report revealed last summer, ESPN’s Michael C. Wright reported on the Back to Back podcast that Leonard preferred playing for the Clippers over joining LeBron James with the Lakers.
“The Lakers are not Kawhi’s preferred destination anymore,” Wright said. “He wants to go to the Clippers. Because he doesn’t want to go and be second fiddle to LeBron. That’s what I was told. I was told by somebody that would know. So right now the Clippers are where he wants to go.
Both the Lakers and Clippers are expected to make a run at Leonard during 2019 free agency, assuming the forward opts out of the final year of his deal.
Kawhi Leonard Trade: What Raptors Sent Spurs
When a trade was finally struck to move Leonard, it was mid-July and wound up, of course, being the Raptors who stepped up to offer a package which the San Antonio Spurs apparently found most appealing. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed at the time, the trade was centred around DeMar DeRozan and a protected 2019 first-round pick.
- Raptors receive: Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green
- Spurs receive: DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, protected 2019 first-round pick
Beyond that, the Spurs sent $5 million in cash to the Raptors in order to help cover the luxury-tax hit due to the trade kicker, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.