Despite recent rumors of the New York Knicks making a run for Kawhi Leonard, the fact remains that little outside influence can impact Leonard’s decision making. He has a strong idea of what is the right way for him to handle his business and he solidly sticks to his code.
A notoriously quiet superstar, it is hard to get a read on which direction Leonard might be leaning and given the historic playoff run he’s experiencing, he just may have inserted himself as the premier free agent domino in the 2019 class – one which includes Kevin Durant. This means that we have little to no indication whatsoever of how this free agency might shake out, unlike last year when rumors and reports of LeBron to LA surfaced well before his announcement.
What we do have is a slightly older video where Leonard actually admits to falling in love with the NBA because of the Lakers’ dynasty.
Kawhi Leonard ‘Fell In Love With NBA’ Watching Lakers
While the video isn’t brand new (was filmed towards the end of his Spurs days), it at least gives a peek inside Leonard’s head.
One thing that can absolutely be counted on is that Leonard grew up in the Los Angeles area and claims he fell in love with the NBA watching the early 2000s Laker dynasty. While Leonard has gone on record saying that he wasn’t necessarily a Lakers fan despite growing up in the area, he has said his family are pretty big Laker fans.
It is clear that Kawhi draws a lot of his offensive game from Kobe Bryant as each year Leonard seemingly adds another patented Kobe move to add to his arsenal. While Kobe isn’t necessarily in an official position with the Lakers, his voice is one that is highly respected in the organization and the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the players who made him fall in love with the sport as a child are enticing.
Kawhi Leonard Other Free Agency Landing Spots
As mentioned above, the Knicks seem to be making an aggressive push to land two stars and would ideally love to bring in the dynamic wing duo of Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant. Rumors of Durant to the Knicks have been brewing for MONTHS and the path could allow for Leonard to place himself in North America’s largest media market alongside one of the game’s best scorers of all time. As good as Leonard is, his skills are mostly slept on until he utterly destroys everything put in front of him come playoff time. For what it might be worth, Leonard and his group seem to be making an effort to get his face out there more in recent years.
Kawhi could also stick around Toronto for a little while longer and see if he can pick up a few more rings. Toronto holds his Bird Rights after acquiring him via trade from the Spurs and can pay him a sizeable extra chunk of change. Kawhi seems to enjoy Toronto and it wouldn’t be unrealistic to see him re-upping for either a 1+1 deal or potentially even a long term max deal.