Lakers & Raptors Are Kawhi Leonard’s Finalists With the Clippers Eliminated

Lakers Kawhi Leonard free agency LeBron James

Getty The Lakers lost out on Kawhi Leonard to their neighbors.

The Kawhi Leonard free agency sweepstakes is now down to two teams as the Lakers and Raptors are the finalists, per Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard. The latest news surrounding Leonard is that the All-Star forward has narrowed down his choices to the Lakers and Raptors. The Clippers have been eliminated from contention, per Broussard’s latest update.

“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 [between] Lakers & Raptors. Very close,” Broussard tweeted.

The Raptors seem to be gaining momentum after Leonard flew back to Toronto to meet with the team in his final free agency pitch meeting. Those hoping for a “Fourth of Kawhi” announcement may be disappointed as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Leonard’s decision could stretch into Friday.

Referring to ESPN’s Jalen Rose’s assertion that Leonard has a “99 percent chance” of re-signing with the Raptors, The Athletic’s Frank Isola noted that the chances have moved up 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.

The Lakers Are Playing the Waiting Game With Kawhi

The Lakers were once believed to be the favorite, but things seemed to have shifted since Leonard headed back to Canada. It remains to be seen whether Leonard will stay in Toronto for his announcement. Fox Sports’ Cris Carter reported that Leonard is likely to make an announcement on July 5th.

“”I think Kawhi is going to make an announcement on Friday. As of yesterday at 6 PM, no team had an edge,” Carter reported.

No “Fourth of Kawhi” Announcement Expected

There was some speculation that Leonard may follow Kevin Durant’s lead with a Fourth of July announcement. However, Carter reported that Leonard’s camp is not planning any fireworks with a Fourth of July decision.

“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 noted on Twitter.

Lastest Free Agency Update Has the Clippers Eliminated From Contention in the Kawhi Sweepstakes

It appears to be a difficult Fourth of July for the Clippers with Leonard’s list narrowed down to the Lakers and Raptors if Broussard’s report is true. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Leonard had pitched the idea of joining the Clippers to Kevin Durant prior to his decision to sign with the Nets.

The Clippers are the one team without a second star, with the Lakers offering the most appealing duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Toronto has the ultimate trump card with the NBA trophy and the ability to bring back the majority of the team for a quest to be repeat champs.