Due to Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury, Kawhi Leonard is probably the best free agent available on the market. After winning a championship with the Toronto Raptors and proving that he can carry a team to a title, many believe that he is the best player in the world right now. Plenty of teams would surely try to pursue the two-time Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, but there are only a handful of teams that have a shot at landing Kawhi Leonard in free agency.
After years of failures, the Toronto Raptors dealt their longtime franchise player DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs. It was a real gamble as there was no assurance that Kawhi Leonard would stay in Toronto and sign a long term contract. But for Masai Ujiri, it was worth it. As of now, there is still no assurance of Leonard staying. Even after winning a championship. For the Raptors, even if Leonard leaves, the trade would still be worth it because they’ve already got a championship. Their first ever championship.
What’s best for Kawhi Leonard in Free Agency?
Free Agency is going to be wild. Kawhi Leonard is the best two way player in the league. His talent on both ends of the floor is unmatched. With that talent, he can immediately fit on any team in the league. But the question is, where does he want to go? Does he want to stay in Toronto?
The Toronto Raptors can give him the most money. They can offer him a max contract of 5-years, worth $189.7 million, while other teams can only give him 4-years and $140.6 million deal. But Leonard already proved in the past that money is not an issue. He still forced his way out of the San Antonio Spurs despite knowing that the Spurs can offer him a 5-year deal worth $221.3 million. So, where might Kawhi Leonard end up in free agency?
The Top Landing Spots for Kawhi Leonard in Free Agency
Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard already expressed his desire to play in his hometown, Los Angeles, before he was traded to the Raptors. But, he doesn’t want to be second fiddle to LeBron James so his preferred destination is the Los Angeles Clippers. When he demanded a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers were on top of his list as a preferred destination.
The Los Angeles Clippers had a spectacular season that was unexpected. With their roster with no all-star, nobody thought that they would make the playoffs but they proved everybody wrong. They even won two games against the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. It was an incredible year for this Clippers team.
Adding Kawhi Leonard to the mix would surely bring the Clippers to the next level. If they made it to the first round of the playoffs, adding Leonard might help them get better results next season. In addition, the Clippers can get a second-star star next to Leonard with the cap space they have.
Los Angeles Lakers
With Anthony Davis joining LeBron James in Los Angeles, adding another top-five player would make the Lakers the most dominant team in the league. Kawhi Leonard is probably the best player in the league today. James and Davis are top-5 players in the league. But, unfortunately for the Lakers, Leonard isn’t showing any signs of joining the Lakers. We all know that he doesn’t want to create a super team. He doesn’t need that to win a championship. He already proved that. Leonard is not the type of player who wants an easy path to win it all. However, Kawhi Leonard joining the Lakers is unlikely to happen but it’s still one of the best landing spots for him.
The Raptors took quite a risk in trading an all-star player in DeMar DeRozan for Leonard. Leonard did not have the Raptors as a preferred destination. There was and is no guarantee that he was going to re-sign. Winning a championship there is like only a job well done for Leonard. But, one of the best things he can do is to stay with the team and compete for another championship run.
The Raptors already have a good roster. They only have to re-sign some key players. They will still be the favorites to win the title if Leonard stays. Also, the Eastern Conference is still pretty much wide open for them. There are still no legitimate threats other than the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Boston Celtics are out of the conversation now as Kyrie Irving and Al Horford unlikely to stay.
However, everybody knows that Leonard might leave after his contract expires. Even before winning the championship he is already set to leave. There is still no clear information on where he really wants to go. Only time can tell where will Kawhi Leonard might end up.
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