Kawhi Leonard Knicks: Could The Klaw Save Free Agency?

Getty Kawhi Leonard hit the open market when NBA free agency started on June 30.

New York Knicks fans holding out hope that the team could still sign Kawhi Leonard may want to reset their expectations. The good news is the Knicks front office is in Los Angeles. We know this because the Knicks were meeting with Julius Randle. However, there is no sign the Knicks are meeting with Leonard in L.A.

The challenge for the Knicks is to convince Leonard to leave a franchise that just won an NBA championship for New York. Cap room is not an issue for the Knicks as they could still sign Leonard even with Randle in the fold. The Knicks best chance to land Leonard was as a package deal with Durant. There were rumors that Leonard was talking about teaming up with Durant.

“When free agency starts the Knicks are expecting to have meetings with Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard before heading to Los Angeles to meet with what are considered second tier free agents. The countdown begins…,” Frank Isola tweeted prior to free agency.

The Knicks Could Choose to Target Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021

Heading into free agency, the New York Post reported that the Knicks may target 2021 if they strike out on Leonard or Durant. The way Julius Randle’s contract is structured with a team option for the third year seems to point to exactly that plan.

The Knicks consider Walker a situational max player if, say, Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard, want to play with him. Irving, meanwhile, appears set on Brooklyn, according to The Post’s Brian Lewis.

If the Knicks whiff on Durant and Leonard, they will use their cap space for one- and two-year deals, pending the player, according to sources. That is partly to keep cap flexibility for 2021 when Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes a free agent.

The Lakers, Raptors & Clippers Are the Favorites to Sign Kawhi Leonard

With the Knicks likely out of the mix, the Lakers, Raptors and Clippers are believed to be the three teams with the best chance to sign Leonard. Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes reported that Leonard is not meeting with teams on the first day of free agency.

“Kawhi Leonard will not take any meetings with teams today, as he’ll ramp up the process over next couple days, league sources tell Yahoo Sports,” Haynes tweeted.

Knicks President Steve Mills’ Statement Seems to Indicate New York Is Looking Toward the Future

Knicks president Steve Mills released a statement on free agency to The New York Times. While Mills did not say this outright, his statement implied the team is looking toward the future.

While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight’s news we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents.