There was no Kawhi Leonard news Thursday, as expected, as an odd calm — and maybe welcome respite, for some — descended on his free agent process.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP apparently spent what the Toronto Star dubbed “the Fourth of Kawhi” considering what he has seen and heard and working toward a decision on where he’ll play.
Per the Star, what has become apparent after another day of reading tea leaves is “the Raptors remain confident they have done enough to convince Leonard to take their offer of up to five years and $190 million to return to Toronto.”
They’ve felt that confidence since Leonard’s process began, but it was reinforced after the Raptors made their presentation to Leonard and his advisers on Wednesday in a meeting in Toronto, where fans turned his arrival and presence into a spectacle.
According to Fox Sports, the Clippers are out and it’s now between the Lakers and Raptors. Also: Drake was “heavily involved” in that Toronto meeting.
Kawhi Update: Raptors had strong meeting yesterday. Drake heavily involved. Talked of having Kawhi involved w/his OVO record label. Kawhi in deep soul searching. Wants Lakers but wants to make sure Big 3 will fit/work. Clippers out. It’s btwn Lakers & Raptors. Very close.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 4, 2019
But another entertainer chose to metaphorically crash Leonard’s holiday barbecue on Thursday.
Snoop Dogg took to Instagram to croon his recruiting pitch for his beloved Lakers that he called a “P.S.A.”
In a video posted Thursday, Snoop sings to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”:
“Kawhi, Kawhi, tell me that you’ll be a Laker.
Kawhi, Kawhi, come back to LA.
They said Kawhi, Kawhi, tell me that you’ll be a Laker.
Kawhi, Kawhi, come back to LA.
Don’t do Drake that way.
Kawhi, Kawhi, you should sign back with them Lakers”
When finished, he chuckles and admits, “I ain’t got s— to do but talk s— to you. LET’S GO LAKERS! S—.”
(Warning: Video below contains NSFW language.)
So, Lakers? Or Raptors?
Leonard and his team signaled Wednesday that they would take their time sorting through the options.
On the Kawhi front, told he’s not making a decision tonight and it may not be until the next few days. He and his reps are going through the process and taking their time before deciding the next move. No 2-year deals have been discussed. #NBA @TheAthleticNBA
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) July 4, 2019
Obviously, his decision will have a ripple effect. Danny Green, the Raptors’ other significant free agent, is waiting to see what Leonard does.
The Star, citing unidentified NBA sources, reported that the Mavericks are holding a roster spot and salary-cap space for Green, calling it a measure of respect for the Raptors guard and a statement about the dwindling free-agent market.
That’s a point of context for this week: July 4 isn’t necessarily an unusual point of reference in the typical NBA free agent decision-making timeline. But because of this summer’s unusually fast market (some $3 billion was spent in the first 6 1/2 hours after the opening of free agency on June 30, per SB Nation), Leonard’s recruitment seems to have moved at a snail’s pace.
The teams undoubtedly have fall-back plans if they don’t land Leonard, but there’s no reason to press him to make his commitment.
This process is running on the laid-back Leonard’s schedule. In other words, Friday is merely the “Fifth of Kawhi.”