Former Lakers center Dwight Howard was asked this week about whether impending free agent Kawhi Leonard should consider the team in free agency, with Howard quickly shutting down the idea in favor of Leonard’s current situation in Toronto.
“I don’t know if [the Lakers] are the draw anymore,” Howard said Thursday on ‘First Things First’ on Fox Sports 1, as relayed by Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I think now guys understand that in the era that we live in, the social media age, you can play anywhere and get attention.”
Howard, who was traded to the Lakers in the summer of 2012, spent just one tumultuous season in Los Angeles and quickly became disliked by many fans of the organization. He believes that Leonard should prioritize re-signing with the Raptors when free agency opens on June 30.
“To me, I think he should stay in Toronto,” Howard said. “Because he took the team to the Finals. If he wins, why would he go anywhere else?”
Along with Leonard, the Raptors also have the situations of Danny Green (unrestricted) and Marc Gasol ($25.6MM player option) to address this summer. Leonard has long been linked to the Clippers as a free-agent target, but Toronto may have the slight advantage coming off their first NBA championship.
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division today:
- The Celtics’ plans have been altered in the wake of the Lakers-Pelicans trade for Anthony Davis, Jay King of The Athletic writes. Boston suddenly has an unclear future, dominated by the fact that star guard Kyrie Irving could leave the team in free agency and sign elsewhere. The team is also awaiting a decision from Al Horford, who must inform the franchise of whether he plans to exercise his $30.1MM player option for the 2019/20 season.
- Nets forward Rodions Kurucs is planning on playing summer league with the team, he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “My focus this summer is just working on my game, my all-around game, my handle, my shot, defense, rebounding, physicality for sure,” Kurucs said. “Everything, basically, because I will need them next season.” Kurucs is coming off a rookie season where he averaged 8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in 63 games.
- Aside from the Warriors themselves, the Knicks are one of the biggest losers from Golden State’s strange NBA Finals run, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Major injuries to potential targets Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant have hurt the potential of the 2019 free agent class, leaving some to wonder what kind of contracts teams will offer the two All-Star players on the open market. New York still hasn’t backed away from the idea of signing Durant to a four-year, $141MM deal if he opts out from his final season in Golden State, according to Berman.