Kawhi Leonard’s negotiations with the Toronto Raptors reportedly broke down when his camp made “unreasonable” demands, TSN reports .
The Clippers, of course, this week signed the free agent forward to a deal reportedly for three years and $103 million. Leonard will team up with newly acquired Paul George in a suddenly loaded L.A. lineup.
Still, Toronto had hoped to convince Leonard to return. Raptors officials met with Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Robertson, in Toronto on July 3. According to the TSN report, which cited unidentified sources: “Leonard and his camp — namely Uncle Dennis — asked for a lot from the Raptors in that meeting, things players don’t generally ask for in standard contract negotiations.”
The report labeled those demands “unreasonable,” and noted there was no way Raptors President Masai Ujiri could have delivered on them. The NBA Finals MVP’s demands reportedly “made the Raptors wonder whether Leonard was seriously considering them at all.”
When asked whether he thought Leonard had been upfront in his negotiations, Ujiri told TSN, “I think he was.” After pausing, he added, “Kawhi was.”
Read into that pause what you will about Ujiri’s thoughts on Leonard’s camp. Whatever the intent there, the Raptors are moving on.
“I know what we’re dealing with here and I appreciate what the process was,” Ujiri said. “I know free agency, I know how it works. It’s not my first rodeo. You know things are going to go up and down. This was a different kind of free agency. It was high stakes and we understood that.”
As previously reported, one of the topics Leonard reportedly broached involved the possibility of Toronto acquiring George from the Thunder, although TSN notes, “a deal with Oklahoma City was never as close as some have reported.”