Raptors, Clippers Remain Frontrunners For Kawhi Leonard

As has been the case for much of the 2018/19 league year, the Raptors and Clippers appear poised to battle it out this summer for a commitment from Kawhi Leonard, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said today during an appearance on Get Up (video link), referring to Leonard’s upcoming free agency as a “Raptors-Clippers fight.”

According to Wojnarowski, it’s possible that Leonard will take meetings with other teams beyond the Raptors and Clippers, but the star forward is unlikely to seriously consider the Lakers, despite his reported interest in playing in his hometown of Los Angeles.

“Kawhi Leonard’s focused on Los Angeles, but it’s the Clippers, not the Lakers,” said Wojnarowski, who pointed to the Lakers’ lack of a maximum-salary slot as one reason why they’re not a serious contender for Leonard. Additionally, after leading the Raptors to a championship, Kawhi isn’t expected to want to play “third wheel” on a roster that features LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Woj adds.

Leonard enjoyed perhaps the best season of his career in 2018/19, establishing new career highs in PPG (26.6) and RPG (7.3), among other categories, in 60 regular season games for the Raptors. He capped off his year with one of the most dominant postseason runs in recent league history, as his 30.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG in 24 playoff contests helped lead Toronto to its first NBA title.

While there have been whispers all season that returning home to L.A. is Leonard’s top priority in free agency, he has given no indication publicly of which way he might be leaning. The Raptors, with Leonard’s Bird rights, will have the ability to offer him more years and money than any rival suitor.

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23 thoughts on “Raptors, Clippers Remain Frontrunners For Kawhi Leonard

  1. ffjsisk

    I hope he stays in Toronto. It was refreshing to have a competitive Eastern Conference. With GS’s injuries their could actually be parity in the league next season.

    • stretch123

      Agreed. If he comes back, and they can re-sign Green, they’ll have the chance to repeat

  2. stretch123

    He should take a 1 + 1 and re-enter FA when he hits 10 years of service time for a larger contract. It’s Kawhi or no one for the Clippers it seems like, so he can always sign with them next offseason.

    • Forse sure he Will go with a 1+1 player option at max
      Toronto or Clippers, 90%, others 10%

    • ThePriceWasRight

      theres a good reason to get paid now. see Durant, Kevin. when you are a star and are a free agent, you cant settle for 1 year and risk injury, especially for a guy who kissed most of the previous season.

    • ThePriceWasRight

      theres a good reason to get paid now. see Durant, Kevin. when you are a star and are a free agent, you cant settle for 1 year and risk injury, especially for a guy who **missed** most of the previous season.

  3. Raps902420

    I guess he has to decide between going home or defending his title.for a player with his competitive spirit, I’d say he comes back to Toronto on a 1+1 and tries for a repeat.

    • JonnyLucas

      No way he’s coming back to Toronto. He would say so if that was his plan. The money offered is the max… what more can Toronto tell him that he doesn’t already know? He knows he’s already gone.

      • TheTruth12

        Wanna bet? What about all the other star free agents in the past that didn’t say staying was their plan? Staying in Toronto is the better option, better fans, chance to win a championship, media won’t turn on him fast like in LA.. more money and if he goes to the Clippers he’s still taking a backseat to Lebron and AD.

        • emac22


          Are there really people who would choose to be rich and live in Toronto instead of LA?

          Any people?

          • TheTruth12

            He can play in Toronto and still have a place in LA and live there in the offseason. LA traffic is reason enough to want to live in Toronto instead.

          • Dodgethis

            LA is a garbage city, and has been for quite a while. It’s the world’s propaganda center, its overcrowded, traffic is absurd. Air quality is the worst in California, politicians are about as whacked out as they come. LA has nothing to offer.

  4. imindless

    I dont think that that are a fit but you never know if money is an issue which i don’t think it is the deal can be amended to a later date in which it would open to 32.5 million. Kawhi is a weird dude and always does the unexpected so expect something random when it comes to his decision.

  5. JonnyLucas

    The Lakers blew it… I’d take Kawhi and AD over LBJ and AD. LeBron is going to be an anchor around their neck. They should have had a better long term plan.

    • Luckylefty2

      I been trying to tell ppl. Lebron went to the lakers on purpose to make it look like kawhi followed him to play there. Unfortunately for lebron the clippers actually have a great front office & better direction than the Lakers.

  6. TheTruth12

    I can’t believe any idiots really think he’s going to the clippers. Find a different sport bud cause this one isn’t for you

    • Dodgethis

      Uh, the clippers are the favorites to sign him, even ahead of Toronto. If you don’t know that, and can’t figure out how to get that kind of information, sports in general aren’t for you, buddy.

  7. Dionis89

    Kawhi does not like the spotlight which he is getting a ton of in Toronto right now. You could tell from his body language all season,on the court, and the parade that he is not fully invested with the Raptors.

    On the Clippers he can go home and there won’t be a ton of attention surrounding him with LeBron and AD on the Lakers. You throw Kawhi on the Clippers with Shai,Zubac,Robinson,Harrell, and Lou and I don’t think the Lakers could beat that team in a series.

    Jerry West will assure himself of putting the right talent around Kawhi Leonard, he’s signing with the Clippers book it.

  8. goldenmisfit

    It seems like he does care about the spotlight otherwise he would be more than happy being on a great team and being the third of three superstars. If I was Leonard my number one concern would be of all the teams that are interested in me which one can I see winning a championship with. I am sure though his number one concern right now seems to head back to California so maybe he needs to the side of the teams there which team has the best chance to win a title.

  9. demmer19

    Kawhi is going to look after himself! Does that mean he is not a team player…no! When he’s on your team, you won’t find a better player/person committed to winning! But, because he is playing in a league (any pro league) where you are just a commodity, he needs to take care of himself! With that said, I would love to see him back in TO, but I won’t hold it against him when he leaves!

  10. Dodgethis

    Raptors went all in last year. They dont have a great 5 year outlook. Clippers look like they could spend the next 5 years as a top contender, even without kawhi. I’m not talking about teams chances next year, in talking about the entirety of the deal he’s going to sign.

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