After a flurry of moves to start free agency, the last few days have focused on Kawhi Leonard, last big name on the board. Plenty of rumors have been going around about where he’ll go. According to those rumors, Leonard will return to the Toronto Raptors next season.
NBA Free Agency Rumors
Toronto Raptors to Re-Sign Kawhi Leonard
Fresh off his second Finals MVP, Leonard has taken his time deciding where he’ll play next season. His options include the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Toronto Raptors. Though speculation of Leonard going home to one of the Los Angeles teams has circulated since he left the San Antonio Spurs, the Raptors have a good argument for him to return. According to Jalen Rose on Get Up, he believes it’s a “99 percent” chance Leonard will return to Toronto.
"What I'm 99% hearing is that Kawhi Leonard will be returning to Toronto …"
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) July 3, 2019
Signing a two-year deal is significant, as Rose points out it’ll carry Leonard until his tenth year where he’ll be eligible for the biggest contract in league history. IHe wouldn’t be wasting those seasons either. With Leonard back, the Raptors would be title contenders again and the favorites to win the East. He proved in last year’s playoffs that he can carry them there.
Wherever Leonard goes, he’ll most certainly get paid. For now, the speculation is which place appeals to him most. For someone that says as little as Leonard, it’s almost impossible to figure out until he makes his decision. Until then, three teams and their fanbases will hold their breath hoping they’re the lucky ones chosen.
Memphis Grizzlies Looking to Trade Andre Iguodala
After Kevin Durant announced his departure from the Golden State Warriors, the Warriors got to work on their rebuild. Part of said rebuild was trading Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies, along with some picks, to open up cap space. Originally, it was believed the Grizzlies would either keep Iguodala as a veteran leader or buy him out and let him hit the open market. Instead, it appears they’ll look to see what value he has on the trade market.
Filed to ESPN: The Grizzlies do not plan to give Andre Iguodala a buyout before the season and are actively exploring the trade market for the former Finals MVP, per league sources. Rockets, Mavs among teams with interest.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 4, 2019
The Grizzlies are going through a rebuild at the moment and certainly don’t owe Iguodala any favors. The NBA is a business first and foremost, so it makes sense the Grizzlies would try to get an asset or two back for Iguodala instead of letting him walk for nothing. Though he’s now 35, Iguodala was still a productive player for the Warriors last season. As part of the Warriors team that went to five straight Finals, he has tons of playoff experience. While he needs to coast a little during the regular season marathon, he’s an excellent role player to have in the playoffs for a title contending team. Expect the Grizzlies to find a trade partner interested in him.
Miami Heat Make Multiple Players Available for Trade
One of the biggest shockers of free agency was the Miami Heat pulling off a four-team sign-and-trade to acquire Jimmy Butler. Overall it was an excellent move for Miami that nets them the go-to scorer they so desperately needed last season. While that move alone made their summer a win, Pat Riley apparently still wants to get some more deals done.
— Kodak Beige 🇭🇹🇭🇹 (@Alf954) July 3, 2019
Goran Dragic is a starting-caliber point guard that can play off-ball spotting up or cutting to the basket. His contract for next season is a little big but there’s only one year left so he’d be a nice expiring contract. Kelly Olynyk has been an excellent stretch-four for Miami. Though limited in mobility when defending the perimeter, he still hustles and is adept at drawing charges. Capable of playing small-ball five, Olynyk is a versatile player that has lived up to his contract and has two more years left on it.
Finding trade partners for Dion Waiters and James Johnson will be more challenging and may require them to be packaged with picks or the aforementioned two. Waiters is still playing his way back into shape after losing a season and a half to ankle surgery. He ended last season looking much closer to form and was even shooting hot from three-point range. Still, it’s a question whether he can live up to the last two years of his deal. Similarly, Johnson has spent the last two seasons with various injuries here and there that have limited his playing time. Still a versatile power forward with good defensive upside, Johnson needs to stay healthy for the last two years of his deal to be worth it.
There’s certainly value there for the right team. Now it’s up to Riley to find them and make another deal.
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