NBA Trade Rumors: Knicks Intensify Quest To Acquire Kawhi Leonard After Raptors Bag Championship
To no one's surprise, Kawhi Leonard was voted MVP of the NBA Finals. The forward, 27, has become the Toronto Raptors leader, in the finals that have given the Canadian team the first NBA championship ring in its history. This result in various teams clamoring for Leonard to sign with them, including the New York Knicks who had been very persistent.
With his new MVP trophy in the Finals, Kawhi Leonard, now dubbed as The "King of the North" left his name in NBA history. Leonard became the third player in the league to be the Finals MVP by two different teams, joining LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks).
Kawhi Leonard was flawless in every game of this NBA season including the finals. His best performance was in Game 4, in which he commanded Toronto's third victory in the series by scoring 36 points and 12 rebounds. These numbers and the NBA championship are the reason why Leonard will be one of the most sought out players in the NBA free agent market which will start on June 30.
With a lot of room in the salary ceiling to invest, the New York Knicks is reported to have been aggressively trying to acquire star Kawhi Leonard. The Knicks is entering the off-season with $70 million in cap space, which is, by far, the most of any team in NBA today.
According to Cris Carter of FS1, the Knicks is doing everything they can to get Leonard, and the probability of him landing in New York is high. It is important to note that Carter is not just another basketball fan saying his random opinion. Carter and Leonard are represented by the same agency and had worked out together in New York. Carter was also the first one last year, who voice out that Leonard will not sign with the Spurs.
Carter also added that Kawhi and Kevin Durant teaming up with New York is also a real possibility. New York is expected to have two maximum contracts to offer for two big NBA stars. And since one of their other favorites to be acquired, Kyrie irving seems to have already his eyes set for the Brooklyn Nets, Durant would be a new target, even with an uncertain future after breaking the Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, last Monday.
There are other teams that are also looking to Acquire Leonard, including the two franchises in Los Angeles, his hometown. The Lakers and especially the Clippers are keenly interested in hiring him, and it would be easy for Leonard to say yes as this is where he came from.
However, don't rule out that Kawhi Leonard would stay in Toronto. After bagging the championship, The Canadian franchise will do everything and is willing to throw the rest of the team for its star and Leonard seems to be very receptive to the siren songs that come from Toronto.
A possible clue that Leonard had even already decided to stay with the Raptors is that the player recently bought a house in Toronto, which in the US media has been interpreted as a possible sign of permanence in the Raptors.
Amidst all this, the best player of the season still does not think about the future. When asked about his next career move, Leonard replied that he is just going to celebrate with his teammates and the coaching staffs for now and will think about the future later.