Lakers Free Agency: Kawhi Leonard Chances Improve the Longer He Waits

Lakers Free Agency Kawhi Leonard

Getty Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors celebrates his teams win over the Golden State Warriors.

As we enter day three of the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, no concrete evidence has broken either way tipping Kawhi’s hand – leading the rest of the world to try and speculate as to which way he might be leaning.

With his decision narrowed down to what seems to be the Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors, Kawhi is still taking meetings and doing his due diligence before making his decision. As frustrating as that might be from the team or fan’s perspective, Leonard’s otherworldly playoff run and status as arguably the best player on the planet give him the ability to approach free agency in whatever manner he sees fit.

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Lakers Free Agency: Kawhi Leonard Chances Improve The Longer He Waits

According to David Jacoby, he feels that the Lakers might actually be benefitting from Kawhi’s prolonged free agency decision. Kawhi has been in Los Angeles for meetings with the Lakers and Clippers before heading back to take his final meeting with Toronto and as Jacoby says, he really already knows what Toronto can bring to the table for him.

While a title contender, Toronto is likely unable to add much firepower around him and in a league where the landscape just changed dramatically, that might not be enough to push them over the top again. Kawhi had to give a Herculean effort to get Toronto to the promised land this season and his load management strategy becomes much easier to implement when playing alongside a pair of superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Clipper are a threat to land Leonard as well. However, they seem to offer a similar situation to Toronto. They have an extremely strong supporting cast in place but would be heavily reliant on Kawhi to help carry them deep into the playoffs as they showed last year that they simply didn’t have the firepower to hang with the elite playoff contenders.

Other Lakers Free Agency Targets

DeMarcus Cousins is keeping an eye on Kawhi to the Lakers – Tim Bontemps | Get UpAdrian Wojnarowski breaks down Golden State Warriors big man DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins’ free-agency outlook. (1:50) Tim Bontemps explains why Cousins is paying close attention to Kawhi Leonard’s free agency decision. #GetUp ✔ Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔ Get the ESPN App: ✔ Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔ Subscribe to ESPN FC on…2019-07-02T12:39:49.000Z

While the Lakers’ pool of free agency targets has shrunk considerably since the start of the moratorium, they still have some viable options left on the board. The Lakers need to find a starting-caliber point guard as well as a true center – as Davis is a natural power forward.

Interestingly, DeMarcus Cousins is still available and recent reports have indicated that there isn’t much of a market for Cousins and that teams may even be unwilling to offer the mid-level exception to the former All-Star and All-NBA big man. If the Lakers land Leonard, Cousins might be able to be had on an extremely cheap one-year “prove it” deal similar to what he did with the Warriors last year – just for less money.

Rajon Rondo still lurks on the free agent market and has proven success playing alongside both Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Unlikely to get anywhere near his $9 million offer from last season, Rondo is a player that could likely be interesting in joining the Lakers for a veteran minimum should they land Leonard and seems to be a strong fit both ways.

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