Eastern Notes: Leonard, Pistons, VanVleet, Hornets, Wizards

Despite a report from last week that Kawhi Leonard bought a house in Toronto, Leonard denied the story on Saturday in front of reporters, according to a Canadian Press report (via The Toronto Star).

Raptors fans were optimistic that this could be a clue of Leonard’s upcoming free agency decision, with the 2014 Finals MVP scheduled to become a free agent on June 30, one day after his 28th birthday. He’ll likely register interest from several suitors outside of Toronto, including his hometown teams in Los Angeles.

“No, it didn’t. It didn’t happen yet, no,” Leonard said of the report.

Leonard has guided the Raptors through the Eastern Conference and out to a 3-1 series lead over the Warriors, averaging a playoff career-high 31.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 22 postseason games.

The Raptors have a chance to win their first ever NBA championship on Monday night, a pivotal game for a franchise hoping to persuade Leonard to re-sign on a lucrative free-agent contract this summer.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

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23 thoughts on “Eastern Notes: Leonard, Pistons, VanVleet, Hornets, Wizards

  1. Sheesh and I’ve been telling everybody Kawhi bought a house in Toronto. Can’t believe what we read.

    Might take and lesson from this,

    Kawhi to the Clippers,
    Durant staying with the Warriors,
    Kyrie Brooklyn,
    Couple of lesser stars to the Lakers. Maybe an Anthony Davis trade, but more likely a Jimmy Butler and another very good star.

    • C-Daddy

      Obviously he was going to deny having bought a property whether or not he bought one. This is a non-story.

    • knickscavsfan

      I’m finding it hard to believe that Kawhi would leave to play for an LA team. He seems to be about winning in and being comfortable. I feel like going to LA wouldn’t be a basketball decision but more personal. And he’s entitled to that and no say in being traded to Toronto. I hope they win, that he’s found happiness there and stays. Would make for a great story.

      • I give no fox

        If he was “about winning” then why did he force his way out of the most stable winning franchise in the league?

        • knickscavsfan

          Debatable as to where the Spurs w/o Duncan were headed but I also said “winning and being comfortable”. If your coach, players etc basically think you’re a liar and have no heart then why would you want to stay there? I think that’s common sense.

    • Yes, certainly sounds like a bad liar hedging against being dishonest by withholding clarity in his statement. I’m imagining an intermediary securing the purchase.

  2. x%sure

    ABC showed what they said was a tooth laying in the lane after the VanVleet hit. Anyone see a player sporting a hockey grin lately?

  3. knickscavsfan

    I’m finding it hard to believe that Kawhi would leave to play for an LA team. He seems to be about winning in and being comfortable. I feel like going to LA wouldn’t be a basketball decision but more personal. And he’s entitled to that and no say in being traded to Toronto. I hope they win, that he’s found happiness there and stays. Would make for a great story.

    • kenleyfornia2

      Kawhi is a corky guy. Winning a title isn’t something that would even seem to sway him

      • knickscavsfan

        You honestly feel like winning isn’t important to Kawhi? Based off of what? Because he asked to be traded from a team that basically accused him of being a liar? Get real. Amazing how narratives can be so easily accepted.

  4. hiflew

    Hey guys, not completely on topic, but just a trade idea I wanted to share.

    Boston gets
    Chris Paul
    Clint Capela

    Houston gets
    Gordon Hayward
    Marcus Smart
    Robert Williams
    2 of the C’s 3 1st rounders

    (It could also work with Jaylen Brown and 1 1st instead of Williams and 2 1sts)

    I think it is a major win for both teams. Houston gets younger and out from a lot of money and the Celtics get a Kyrie replacement and the best player in the deal in Capela.

    Give me your thoughts.

    • Boston gives up a lot for an older Chris Paul and a limited Clint capela. Maybe two years ago or even one year ago that trade could work, but at this stage I would say Boston gets the short end here, especially considering the financial commitment to both guys.

    • knickscavsfan

      I don’t think that works for Houston. They basically swap out a legit PG for Hayward. I think Paul comes up in trade talks simply because he’s expensive and they are have zero ability to improve the team other than a trade. Harden isn’t being moved. I think the best case scenario would be to add to Paul and Harden with a wing or big.

      • hiflew

        Well they are also getting two first round picks + a first rounder from last year. So it’s not exactly just swapping Paul for Hayward. I also think you are short selling Marcus Smart a bit. He’s not Chris Paul, but I think he still could be a solid starting PG in the NBA.

        Paul and Hayward are making about the same, but you are paying Paul two additional seasons when he is probably not going to be nearly as good as he is now. The cost savings are substantial.

        I think Houston might take a small step back with this move in the short term, but I think it would make them a better team in the long run, especially if Hayward can rebound to be anywhere close to the player he was in Utah.

  5. If the Raps win the title, I could see Kawhi sign a one + one deal to stay in Toronto. He can make a run at a second consecutive Finals next year, and then wait to see what the Raps do with the Cap space from all the expiring deals next offseason.

    Clips in the meantime can sign a Star this year, and not give up assets to clear Gallo for a second. His contract expires at the end of next season anyway.

    They could also sign no one and wait to see if they can put Davis and Leonard together for the 2020-21 season.

  6. hoosierhysteria

    Hi flew: no deal. Chris Paul is oth and grossly overpaid. Not a great teammate. Not a Celtics type player. Hayward not going anywhere. He comes back healthy.

  7. C-Daddy

    As other posters have suggested, I think the most likely scenario is that he signs a short-term deal with the Raptors. Denying the report about buying the property is a non-story; he’s not going to tip his hand with regards to free agency in the middle of the Finals.

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