The tides of NBA free agency are turning.
The Raptors’ chances of retaining Kawhi Leonard are “fading,” according to a report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard. Broussard says the Clippers and Lakers could have the best chance at signing the 6-7 wing.
Hearing Raptors chances of keeping Kawhi are fading. A return to SoCal – either team – getting more and more likely.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2019
An earlier report from Yahoo Sports stated Toronto was the favorite to sign Leonard in 2019, but that notion appears to be changing quickly. Rumors that Kevin Durant and Leonard have been discussing joining forces on the Clippers or Knicks have surfaced since then. Leonard was reportedly interested in returning home to Los Angeles after his relationship with the Spurs went sour in 2017-18 and he’s expected to have meetings with both the Clippers and Lakers in the coming week.
Leonard, 28, is entering the prime of his career and could form a dynamic superteam alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. On the other hand, the two-time Finals MVP could join a Clippers team that pushed the Warriors to six games in this year’s playoffs without a legitimate star, let alone a superstar.
But then there’s the Raptors, who Leonard led to their first ever NBA title in 2019. They will return key pieces like Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam and are sure to be top contenders in the Eastern Conference should Leonard ink another deal with Toronto.
Durant’s Achilles injury undoubtedly makes Leonard the most coveted free agent on the market, and it appears he could be preparing for a return to the West Coast.
Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in 2018-19 and could shift the balance of power in the league significantly depending on where he settles.