5. Kawhi’s decision just got tougher
After having a historic postseason, delivering the Toronto Raptors their first NBA championship and winning Finals MVP, it seems like Kawhi Leonard has an easy decision in free agency. He should re-sign with the Raptors and try to repeat as NBA champions.
The Raptors seemingly have everything. A great front office and coach in Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse, an All-Star point guard in Kyle Lowry and skilled young teammates in Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. They also have depth with players like Serge Ibaka, Danny Green and Marc Gasol all making an impact in the postseason as well.
Still, it seems like Leonard is attracted to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers also have a trusted executive and coach in Jerry West and Doc Rivers. They’re able to bring back a team that challenged a fully healthy Golden State Warriors squad to six games in the first round of the playoffs.
They could also open up salary cap space to add another top tier free agent, although it’s not clear which star would come to LA with The Klaw. Most importantly, the LA native would get to play in his hometown again.
Both the Raptors and Clippers will have enticing offers, but the Lakers trading for AD certainly complicates matters. Although Kawhi does not seem to be phased by much, he could be less inclined to move to Hollywood if he had to battle two superstars for supremacy in the Western Conference, Pacific division and Los Angeles.
Another potential consequence is that Leonard considers signing with the Lakers to form the next super team. Although this seems highly unlikely, Leonard would be joining a contending team and make them the clear favorites for the 2020 NBA title.
Whatever Kawhi’s choice, someone will walk away dissatisfied at the very least.