Ever since the Raptors swung a blockbuster deal with the Spurs to acquire two-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard, speculation on his alleged interest — or lack thereof — to play in Canada has been rampant. There have been reports ranging from Leonard having no desire to suit up for Toronto to team president Masai Ujiri saying that the 2014 NBA champion is prepared for next season.
Leonard will hit free agency next summer when his current contract expires. The Lakers have been frequently connected to Leonard as a possible — if not likely — destination for him. However, at least one person believes that Leonard’ tenure with the Raptors will last more than one season. Mark Zeigler of The San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to one close Leonard confidant who believes the superstar will re-sign with Toronto.
“He’s going to fall in love with Toronto – it’s going to happen. He’s not going to leave, I’m telling you,” he said.
There have been so many reports on Leonard’s alleged frame of mind regarding his new team. It’s unlikely we’ll get a clear indication on his future unless it comes directly from Leonard. However, joining a 59-win team that led the Eastern Conference in wins a year ago bodes well for Toronto with a healthy Leonard for next season.
Check out more Leonard notes below:
- ESPN’s Andre Snellings examined the best case scenario for the both the Raptors and Leonard. While DeMar DeRozan was the recognized franchise star who improved each season, statistics show that the Raptors scored better with him on the bench. If Leonard is healthy, Snellings writes that his potent combination of elite scoring and defense improves Toronto on both sides of the court.
- With Leonard joining the Raptors, a lot of unknowns remain, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. Leonard is known around the league as a quiet person who prefers to keep himself out of the spotlight. However, in joining a new team, Leonard will have to prove himself by playing his best basketball and when he’s healthy, he’s proven himself as one of the NBA’s elite.
- If you missed it, here is a rundown of Ujiri’s press conference from Friday, where he addressed Leonard’s arrival and miscommunication with DeRozan.