Kawhi Notes: Long-Term Future, Best Case Scenario, Performance

Ever since the Raptors swung a blockbuster deal with the Spurs to acquire two-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard, speculation about his interest — or lack thereof — in playing 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’s tenure with the Raptors will last more than one season. Mark Zeigler of The San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to a 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,” the source said.

There have been many reports on Kawhi’s alleged frame of mind regarding his new team, but it’s unlikely we’ll get a clear indication on his future unless it comes directly from Leonard. In any case, adding Leonard to a 59-win team that claimed the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference a year ago bodes well for Toronto, assuming the star forward is healthy.

Check out more Leonard notes below:

  • ESPN’s Andre Snellings examines the best-case scenario for the both the Raptors and Leonard. While DeMar DeRozan was recognized as a franchise star who improved each season, statistics show that the Raptors outscored opponents by a wider margin when he was on the bench. If Leonard is healthy, his potent combination of elite scoring and defense improves Toronto on both sides of the court, Snellings writes.
  • With Leonard joining the Raptors, a lot of unknowns remain, says Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. While the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is viewed around the league as a quiet person who prefers to keep himself out of the spotlight, his enigmatic personality won’t matter as much as his ability to regain his All-NBA form in Toronto.
  • 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.
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15 thoughts on “Kawhi Notes: Long-Term Future, Best Case Scenario, Performance

  1. Kawhi says he’ll also play for the Clippers. He’s unsure if he wants to play 2nd fiddle to LeBron. It is being reported that Kawhi has been texting other players, trying to find a 2nd star to play with him, and asking them where they’d be willing to play. Toronto has until the trade deadline to decide if they want to keep him, and they say they think they can get about what San Antonio got for him.

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    • bennyg

      Dame Lillard would be a good player to pair with him. Be a lethal combo. Be nice to see a team like Toronto make a final for once, and win.

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  2. lanceuppercut

    Honestly this stuff is ridiculous. Let the guy at least get introduced as a Rap before people lay out Kawhi’s future.

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  3. imindless
    imindless

    People acting like they know what this wacko is gonna do. For god sakes man drives a tahoe around… I think family is a big deal for kawhi and being 3rd place in toronto wont add intrigue. Clippers and lakers will have the best chance to land him at the deadline or in free agency.

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    • Sheldon Bowen

      Yeah cause a guy who will be in line for 30mill a year plus can’t afford to move his family to anywhere.

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  4. paladin

    Quote from a Leonard confidant “He’s going to fall in love with Toronto_It’s going to happen. He’s not going to leave I’m telling you” So a reliable source known to be an intimate confidant. Turns out to be Kawhi’s dog walker who knows personally that his new puppy dogs love the Toronto doggie playtown recently opened. This was enough to keep Kawhi in Toronto rather than play bass in Lebrons new combo band.

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  5. greg1

    If Claw doesn’t want to play second fiddle to another superstar as has been reported, and wants to win games, then resigning in Toronto has to be a serious consideration if this season goes as it should for the Raps. They have great complimentary pieces, a really deep roster, and enough of that depth is young that they could make attractive trade chips to bring another impact player to Toronto.

    As for falling in love with the city, I live 50 miles from Toronto, am not a big city guy, and am not a Raptors fan (started watching NBA in the ‘80’s, loved the Sunday afternoon Knicks games on NBC at MSG), but I can say that as big cities go, it is hard to beat. It’s also not just a hockey town anymore, the diversity in the city, and the conversion of those who realize the NHL product sucks have made the Raps almost if not as popular as the Leafs with people younger than 50. Claw will see the crazy fan base, and even he is a quiet guy, it will be hard not getting caught up in the fever.

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    • osonvs

      “NHL product sucks…” Clearly not an NHL fan either. Hard to prove that a team that boasts a talent base as deep as the Leafs sucks. As far as fan bases goes, yea basketball has taken a foothold in the sporting landscape but it’s still incomparable to the Leafs following. But your forgiven for not knowing as 1. You live outside of Toronto so you don’t know first hand and 2. You’re clearly American as here in Canada we measure distance by kilometers, not miles.

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  6. DannyQ3913

    Leonard is a joke. Hope he craps out in Toronto and gets nothing

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  7. jmamone

    people forget he lost $31 million in money for next year by getting traded, then if he doesn’t resign with TO he will miss out on ANOTHER $50 million. That’s a lot of money to miss out on.

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  8. dalrob

    Isn’t Buffalo 50 miles from Toronto? Or Tonawanda or Cheektowaga? Just satin’……

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  9. On paper you would say Toronto should be better but I think there are many factors like his health, attitude, desire, also Philly & Boston are going to be better… So who knows

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  10. jayswethenorth

    Now that the raptors made this move for Kawhi.
    Is this trade possible or I just lost my mind.

    Toronto – A. Davis
    Sacramento – S. Ibaka
    Pelicans – Z. Randolph, N. Powell, K. Koufos.

    and picks mix around there from toronto.

    is this a all in senario for toronto and to sell in to Kawhi.

    not an expert. but just throwing this in.

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