Kawhi Leonard’s return to Toronto featured everything we did not expect complete with a helicopter flyover, and the Raptors may just be keeping the All-Star. The Raptors pitch meeting included Drake with an offer to be involved in OVO Sound, per Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard.
“Kawhi Update: Raptors had strong meeting yesterday. Drake heavily involved. Talked of having Kawhi involved w/his OVO record label. Kawhi in deep soul searching. Wants Lakers but wants to make sure Big 3 will fit/work. Clippers out. It’s btwn Lakers & Raptors. Very close,” Broussard tweeted. ‘
In addition to the Drake tidbit, we learned that the Clippers appear to have been eliminated from the Kawhi sweepstakes. The Raptors just might be able to beat out the Lakers for Leonard. There is no July 4th announcement expected, per Fox Sports’ Cris Carter.
“Breaking news: After very impressive meetings with the Toronto Raptors and others yesterday, reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and his team haven’t made a decision and there won’t any announcement TODAY. Enjoy the 4th of July #KawhiWatch,” Carter tweeted.
Drake is the Raptors’ Global Ambassador and his record label has naming rights for Toronto’s practice facility. Drake posted a photo with Leonard after the Raptors championship parade.
“My take away from the day today is these pictures will never fade away and we can’t even be topped by the Macy’s Day…👌🏽,” Drake noted on Instagram.
The Raptors Have a “99.9 Percent” Chance to Re-Sign Kawhi Leonard, Per Reports
Things appear to be trending in the right direction for the Raptors. ESPN’s Jalen Rose reported that Toronto has a “99 percent” chance to re-sign Leonard.
“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,'” USA Today’s Dan Wolken tweeted.
The Athletic’s Frank Isola moved up the likelihood that Leonard stays with the Raptors to “99.9 percent.”
“From what I’m hearing Jalen Rose’s 99 percent that Kawhi is returning to Toronto now sounds like 99.9 percent…There are unconfirmed reports of Kawhi enrolling one child in a Toronto school. Of course, LeBron did the same in L.A. a few years back and ended up returning to Cleveland,” Isola tweeted.
One NBA Scout Said Kawhi Is “Exhausting Every Option”
Not everyone is ready to hand the Raptors the victory when it comes to Leonard. One NBA scout told ESPN that Leonard is “exhausting every option” as he considers his future.
“Biggest surprise I would have to say is that Kawhi still hasn’t decided,” one scout said on Tuesday night. “He is really mulling it over, exhausting every option.”
Said another scout: “Let’s be honest, everyone knows that if the Warriors were healthy, they would have won. So is he sure if he comes back that he would have a chance to win it with [Toronto]?
“If I’m him, I’m going to the Lakers.
Leonard’s decision is expected to at least run through July 5th and perhaps longer. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Leonard’s announcement may not be for a few more days.