Star forward Kawhi Leonard intends to grant the Lakers and Clippers meetings when free agency opens on June 30, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. According to Haynes, those meetings would take place in Leonard’s hometown of Los Angeles.
Leonard is expected to meet with a handful of teams before making his final free agent decision, according to Haynes, who notes that the Knicks are still working on securing a meeting with the NBA Finals MVP.
Previous reports had indicated that the Clippers would likely meet with Leonard on July 2, while the Knicks expected to meet with him early in the free agent process, but based on today’s updates, it’s not clear that those reports are accurate.
The Raptors, of course, will get a meeting with their free agent forward as well, per Haynes. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Leonard is expected to let Toronto make the final presentation during his process. As Wojnarowski explains, a player’s incumbent team often likes to get the last word when making a pitch in free agency. Sources tell Haynes that Kawhi is seriously considering re-signing with the Raps.
The Clippers have long been viewed as Toronto’s most serious competition for Leonard’s services, though the Lakers have made things interesting by creating the cap room necessary to get close to a maximum-salary slot. Leonard has long been believed to have interest in playing in his hometown.