Kawhi Leonard is the prize of free agency this year and while it seems like he’ll either stay in Toronto or move to the west coast, it’s still possible he may surprise people. However unlikely it may be, Kawhi is far from predictable. He rarely talks and isn’t too keen on the spotlight. It’s possible that some savvy work from an unexpected team’s general manager could sway Kawhi. It’s safe to assume that any team in the NBA would be more than happy to welcome Kawhi to town. Below we’re going to go through some teams that may have the assets and the marketing ability to be able to convince Kawhi to forget his L.A. dreams.
In the event that Jimmy Butler decides to leave town, the Philidelphia 76ers are going to need a replacement if they are going to contend in the East. If the 76ers somehow managed to land Leonard, they’d be better than they were last season because Leonard is better than Butler. A corps of Joel Embid, Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard would possibly be the best trio in the NBA. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers could get a meeting with Leonard. A meeting doesn’t mean there’s a real chance of him signing with Philly, but it’s not entirely impossible. Joining the 76ers would pair Leonard with two other stars, but he would still be the top dog, unlike if he were to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Dallas Mavericks could be really good really soon. Luka Doncic is a superstar in the making and Kristaps Porzingis seems like he may be getting a nice, long contract. Similar to the situation with the 76ers, joining the Mavericks would mean that Kawhi could have a great roster around him while still being the number one guy. Working against the Mavericks is that Leonard has already played in Texas and that didn’t end well. The Mavericks are expecting that he’ll at least give them a meeting, according to NBA reporter Chris Sheridan. Kawhi joining the Mavericks would be incredibly unexpected, but it would launch them to being instant title contenders. While Mark Cuban’s squad hasn’t reached the playoffs in three seasons, they’ll likely change that without Kawhi. However, adding Kawhi turns them from being a low seed in the playoffs to being a title favorite.
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New York Knicks
The only way the New York Knicks could pull off a Kawhi acquisition is if they are able to convince Kevin Durant to come to town with him. Every summer it seems like the Knicks are poised to do big things and every summer, nothing happens. It could change this summer if Durant decides to join, but what was once a real possibility started to seem like false hope. However, a recent report indicates that Durant and Leonard have talked about the possibility of joining the Knicks together. Helping turn the Knicks around could certainly be a lucrative endeavor for Kawhi, but joining the New York-based team is risky. The Knicks haven’t been a consistent winner in a long time and Kawhi would likely play Robin to Durant’s Batman, even though some consider Kawhi the better player. Now, if Kawhi and Durant decided to join the Knicks, they’d easily be the favorites in the East. Having a few top players stay/move to the East would definitely help with the East-West dynamic. Time will tell, but there seem to be a lot more teams in the Kawhi sweepstakes than originally thought.