NBA Christmas: A gift for each team’s wish list in 2018

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images /

Toronto Raptors: A happy Kawhi Leonard

The Toronto Raptors look like the most likely team to represent the East in the 2019 NBA Finals, and they have legitimate title aspirations this year. With that being said, the Warriors are still at the top of the league totem pole, and everyone’s eye up north is fixated on July, when free agency begins.

At that point, Kawhi Leonard can opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. The whispers have been pointing toward Los Angeles for years now, and we’ve already seen his inner circle influence a trade demand from the Spurs, perhaps the NBA’s most well-respected organization for the last two decades.

That has to scare Raptors fans. Will a conference finals appearance be enough? What about an NBA Finals appearance? Would it take a championship to keep Leonard happy and in Toronto for the long haul? A deep playoff run ending in the organization’s first Larry O’Brien trophy is obviously the ultimately goal, but one overdue Christmas present in July would be a happy Kawhi Leonard who ultimately decides to stay with the Raptors beyond this season.