Multiple reports indicate Kawhi Leonard’s free agency decision involving the Lakers, Raptors and Clippers could extend past July 4th. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Leonard may end up taking even more time and is believed to be “laboring over [the] decision.”
“There is a sense that this may extend maybe even beyond tomorrow [July 4th],” Wojnarowski said on Scott Van Pelt’s Sportscenter. “I had heard two or three days ago that July 4th could be the day. I think there is a sense it could take even longer. He is going to decide when he is ready. I don’t think there is any question he is laboring over the decision because there are very distinct choices here. There are three very different teams, situations…a country. And he doesn’t have to rush this. They are all going to wait for him.”
After meeting with the Lakers and Clippers, Leonard flew back to Canada to meet with the Raptors. It appears the meeting portion of the process has been completed. Now, Leonard is discussing his options with those close to him as The Athletic’s Jabari Young detailed.
“On the Kawhi front, told he’s not making a decision tonight and it may not be until the next few days. He and his reps are going through the process and taking their time before deciding the next move. No 2-year deals have been discussed,” Young tweeted.
Some Are Now Calling the Raptors the New Favorite Over the Lakers
Free agency moves fast as the Lakers were once believed to be the favorites in the Leonard sweepstakes. Now, some are saying the Raptors are likely to retain the All-Star forward. ESPN’s Jalen Rose reported that he was “99 percent” sure that Leonard will be re-signing with the Raptors.
“The exact quote from Jalen: “What I’m 99% hearing is that Kawhi Leonard will be returning to Toronto and signing a 2-year contract, just completed his 8th season, that will put him at 10 years and put him in position to get largest maximum deal for a player of his tenure,” Dan Wolken tweeted.
However, Young noted that no two-year deals had been discussed. Fox Sports’ Cris Carter reported that Leonard has not made up his mind as of yet.
“A LOT of premature reports out there. Kawhi has NOT made his decision yet & all 3 teams are still in it. Yes, Lakers and Clippers are still in play and I’m 💯 certain of this. I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting an answer any time soon. Kawhi still undecided. #Kawhiwatch,” Carter tweeted.
After previously tweeting the Lakers were the favorites, former NBA player Kendrick Perkins said on The Brian Windhorst podcast that the Raptors now had the “upper hand.” Windhorst also posed an interesting question that if Leonard was just going to tell the Raptors no, why not do that in Los Angeles instead of flying back to Toronto? This likely means the Raptors have as much of a chance as the Lakers.