Kawhi Leonard’s free agency could stretch through the week as the All-Star has not given the Lakers, Clippers or Raptors a specific timeline for his decision. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Leonard could make an announcement as soon as July 3rd but also noted that it could stretch through July 5th.
“There is an expectation among the teams that there will be a decision- there is no belief there will be one today- but either sometime tomorrow, July 4th or maybe it even goes another day [July 5],” Wojnarowski reported on SportsCenter.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania also reported that Leonard’s recruitment could stretch into the week. Charania noted that sources told him that there is no update on Leonard’s decision.
Fans may remember Kevin Durant’s Fourth of July announcement to join the Warriors back in 2016. Heavy’s Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson wonders if we could be heading for a similar outcome for Leonard.
“My perspective: that’s a 4th If July kind of announcement. Remember KD’s in 2016? He’s a top recruit! You gotta wait!” Robinson tweeted.
The challenge for the Lakers and Clippers is that the majority of top free agents have already signed with teams. While it makes sense to wait on Leonard, both teams could lose out on not only Leonard but also additional free agents.
The Raptors Are Expected to Get the Final Meeting With Kawhi
Wojnarowski also reported that the Raptors are expected to get the final meeting with Leonard. He also emphasized that sometimes the meetings can be “oversold in their importance” given Leonard has already put a lot of time into thinking about his future. The New York Times Marc Stein reported that the Lakers and Raptors have attempted to remain quiet about the process given Leonard’s preference for privacy.
What we know:
The Lakers, as we’ve been saying for more than a week now, believe they are firmly in the lead largely through the recruiting efforts and assurances made on separate fronts from Magic Johnson and LeBron James …The Raptors haven’t backed off one centimeter and Drake is said to be mounting his own recruiting campaign on top of whatever the freshly minted champions are doing to convince him to stay
ESPN’s Jordan Schultz reported that Leonard has completed both meetings with the Clippers and Raptors.
“Kawhi Leonard has completed both his meetings with the #Lakers and #Clippers, a league source tells ESPN. He is also meeting with the #Raptors today. The rest of the basketball world awaits Leonard’s decision…,” Schultz tweeted.
The Lakers Have Been Reported to Be Kawhi’s 1st Choice
Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard reported that the Lakers are Leonard’s “first choice.” Given how quiet the entire process has gone so far, it is important to approach all reports with a bit of skepticism.
“I’m being told the Lakers are Kawhi Leonard’s first choice,” Broussard told Fox Sports. “He and his camp spoke with Magic yesterday and laid out what they want from the Lakers. Nothing crazy, just some additions to the staff and asking ‘Is Kawhi going to be treated like LeBron in the organization?’, and all of that. As long as Jeanie doesn’t do anything to screw it up in the meeting I’m told that’s his first choice.”