The Kawhi Leonard rumors got cranked up to warp speed after Leonard’s sister liked a post showing him in a Lakers uniform and a family associate who calls himself Leonard’s “cousin” said the Finals MVP is “on his way” to LA.
Leonard, an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, has been linked to several teams, including the Lakers, Clippers, Nets, Knicks and Sixers. Of course, Leonard could decide to stay in Toronto after leading the Raptors to the franchise’s first-ever world championship.
Leonard has been relatively quiet on the matter, but other members of his family have been eager to fuel speculation of where he might end up. A person claiming to be his cousin went live on Instagram Sunday night to tell Lakers fans that Kawhi is “on the way.”
There were conflicting reports on the internet about whether the poster was actually Leonard’s cousin, including one report claiming it was a hoax. Heavy.com has reached out to the Raptors for further comment and will update accordingly.
The comments came just days after Leonard’s sister, Meisha Slayton, liked a post showing Leonard in a Lakers jersey alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers completed a blockbuster deal for Davis on Saturday afternoon, installing them as prohibitive favorites in the Western Conference next year.
Follow the Heavy Lakers page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
According to USA Today’s For the Win, Slayton had previously posted an Instagram story about Kawhi’s future in Toronto where she was heard saying “they know darn well he ain’t going to be there next year.” She immediately removed the incriminating post in an effort to squash the rumors.
Kawhi Leonard’s Outlook After Raptors’ NBA Title Victory
In the wake of the Davis trade, everyone seemingly has a hot take on where Leonard will eventually land. He is a proud Los Angeles native and the common belief is the forward wants to return home and further cement his legacy. After winning the NBA Finals, Leonard and his Raptors teammates partied with rapper Drake in Las Vegas and hitched a ride back to Toronto Monday on his private plane in time for the Raptors’ championship parade.
Could that sway him to remain in the North? Fred VanVleet admitted the Raptors did all they could do and he’s ready to let the chips fall where they may. Make no mistake, VanVleet will be ready to “kick his ass” next year, if needed.
Meanwhile, several credible reports have surfaced in recent days that link Leonard to the Lakers. Damon Jones, a former teammate to LeBron James in Cleveland, appeared on ESPN’s Get Up Monday and confirmed that “Kawhi Leonard is in play for the Lakers.” Those rumors echoed strong statements from noted NBA analysts like Kevin O’Connor and Adrian Wojnarowski. One caveat, the Lakers will need to clear $32.5 million in cap space to sign Leonard since he’s surely seeking a max deal.
As previously stated, Leonard has been mute on his free agency plans.
“It’s just something that the Raptors could build on,” Leonard told reporters after winning the NBA Finals. “That we all could build on. And that was my goal. I wanted to get them to the Finals their first year. That was all our goal.”
Obviously, there are many hurdles to overcome if Leonard is indeed going to complete a new “Big Three” in Los Angeles. However, there seems to be a ton of momentum trending in that direction. This upcoming NBA offseason should be one of the most interesting in recent history. Right now, the Lakers are getting 3-1 odds to win the 2020 NBA Finals.