Kawhi Leonard May Move to Los Angeles but With Clippers
It will be a long and potentially distracting NBA season for Kawhi Leonard who is anticipated to be among the big names available in free agency in 2019. This is with the assumption that he opts out of his final year with the Toronto, something the Raptors inherited when they traded for the All-Star forward.
Rumors are swirling that Leonard could be headed to Los Angeles by next year. This is despite claims by Raptors President Masai Ujiri that they will do everything in their power to make Kawhi stay in Toronto during an interview on the Woj Pod.
Regardless, most are under the impression that Leonard is bound for Los Angeles. The Lakers would unsurprisingly be the first thing that comes to mind although some analysts believe otherwise. The 27-year-old cager could make the big jump to LA but likely end up with the Clippers and not the Lakers.
Former NBA player Jalen Rose gave his take, explaining how Leonard would not want to play behind LeBron James, the Big Lead said. Instead, he could become the new face of the Clippers, a jab that aligns with that of Spurs reporter Michael C. Wright. The same opinion was shared by NBA Insider Shams Charania on the Herd, saying that the LeBron James acquisition may have doused any hopes of landing the 15th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.
These are expected to hound Leonard as the 2018-19 NBA season rolls along. However, the more important question is his health. Leonard played a total of only 9 games during the 2017-18 NBA season. But according to Ujiri, he has gotten good feedback from coaches on Leonard although there is no official verdict yet on restrictions if any, CBS Sports said.
Leonard’s health is likewise expected to be monitored by teams who plan to make a go at him in 2019 if he does opt out. The decision on that will likely depend on how well he thrives with the Raptors – assuming he is good to go by opening night.
There are also other scenarios that could happen during the season such as a potential deal before the February trade deadline. If the Raptors feel that Leonard is slipping from their grasp, Toronto could ponder pulling off a deal in an effort to avoid ending up empty-handed.
Hence, Leonard has plenty to prove this season as he tries to rebuild his stock. Prior to getting injured, Leonard had his best NBA season from 2016-17. After a long layoff, he needs to prove to one and all that he still has the hops that made him one of the best cagers in the NBA today.