Everybody knows that the Toronto Raptors were not Kawhi Leonard's preferred team when he requested a trade from the Spurs in 2018. But now, with a second championship and Finals MVP under his belt, where does "The North" stand in terms of potential landing spots for The Klaw?
Kawhi Leonard Free Agency Predictions
The Lakers, Knicks, Clippers, and Nets have all also been coined as teams that Leonard will reportedly consider signing with this summer, but which of the bunch has the best chances at adding him/changing their franchise?
4. New York Knicks
Kevin Durant's injury stuck a dagger into the hearts of Knicks fans, who assumed their franchise was the leader to sign the 10-time All-Star. But, there's still a chance. If the Knicks draft R.J. Barrett and can land KD, Leonard should absolutely take a good, hard look at the idea of playing at Madison Square Garden with a fellow superstar and an intriguing, young roster, waiting one season for the true plan to come to fruition.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Ka-why not? The Lakers were Leonard's reported preferred destination when his trade demands from San Antonio first became public. That did change, however, when LeBron James signed with the Purple and Gold last summer. But, if Kawhi is looking to strengthen his legacy with more championships, teaming up with LBJ and Anthony Davis in La La Land seems like a no-brainer. We already know that Rob Pelinka and Co. are going to give it a go.
2. Toronto Raptors
There are two ways to look at what hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy with the Raptors did for their chances to retain Leonard. Toronto either made the most compelling argument possible to convince him to stay, or allowed him to depart scot-free as a Raptors legend. It's also worth noting that the franchise can also offer him up to a five-year, $189.6 million deal, if Kawhi is chasing money.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
For starters, Leonard is from Southern California, played high school ball at King High School in Riverside, California, and college basketball at San Diego State. The Clippers were also one of the teams Leonard preferred at the time of his rift with San Antonio's front office, not to mention that the franchise has been linked with him for months. On top of it all, the Clippers have the money to offer him a max contract, and Doc Rivers' roster is filled with players that complement Kawhi's style of play, much like Toronto's did. Those are a lot of relevant dynamics that play into the extreme favor of GM Michael Winger.