Kawhi Leonard is hitting the market, but it doesn't look like he's going anywhere. According to Yahoo, insiders are saying that Leonard is "seriously considering" re-signing with th Raptors as they are the only team that can offer him a max contract worth $190 million over 5 years. The 27-year-old is expected to turn down the player option in his Raptors contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
While teams in Los Angeles have shown interest in Kawhi, and the SoCal native has been interested in heading closer to home, a championship and a whole lot of money have a way of changing things. This, via Yahoo's Chris Haynes:
The appeal of returning home to Southern California is enticing to the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but with the trust the Raptors built while Leonard led the franchise to its first NBA title by upsetting the Golden State Warriors, rival executives view his current team as the favorite to land him when the free-agent negotiating period begins June 30, sources said.
Reports out of Los Angeles said that the Clippers can feel their grip slipping on the star free agent. ESPN's Brian Windhorst said that the Clippers were "hyperventilating" over Kawhi's looming decision and ultimately said he thinks he'll stick with Toronto.
"Internally, they’re hyperventilating right now,” Windhorst said. “I think Kawhi will give the Knicks a look. I think his decision will be staying with the Raptors, likely on a short deal, a one-plus-one deal. Or look at the LA Clippers where he can invest in going forward.”
Some people in Los Angeles didn't get the message.