The Raptors have not given up hope on re-signing Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. In fact, it sounds like Toronto is pulling out all the stops for their meeting with Kawhi, including the involvement of the franchise's secret weapon: Drake.
According to NBA insiders, Kawhi has already completed his meetings with both the Lakers and the Clippers. He's now gearing up to sit down with the Raptors who are prepared to make a very strong case as to why Kawhi should stay. On top of this, the New York Times' Marc Stein reports that Drake is continuing his side gig as the Raptors' most famous superfan. According to Stein, the rapper is putting together his own recruitment campaign to add on to the Raptors' pitch.
As witnessed throughout the team's playoff run, Drake is heavily involved with the Raptors. Not only does he serve as a sideline antagonist, but he's also the team's global ambassador.
When Kawhi was forcing his way out of San Antonio, it was reported that he requested to be traded to the Clippers. It was even rumored that Leonard would sit out his 2018-2019 season with the Raptors because he wanted to be fresh when he returned to his hometown. Of course, this didn't happen as Kawhi led Toronto to their first NBA championship in franchise history, and he became a two-time Finals MVP in the process.
These accolades plus creative incentives established by the Raptors' faithful made Toronto a strong contender. But after acquiring Anthony Davis in a blockbuster deal with New Orleans, the other Los Angeles team, the Lakers, emerged as a serious suitor.
Unlike other big-name free agents, Kawhi did not jump the gun and announce his desired destination as soon as free agency opened. Like his on-court play, it seems Kawhi elected to evaluate the Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors with methodical precision before making an announcement. As the last team to meet with Kawhi and the franchise that can offer him the most amount of money, the Raptors (and Drake) are in position to potentially sway The Fun Guy.