Kawhi Leonard’s uncle sought benefits outside cap rules in free agency
Kawhi Leonard’s recruitment in free agency, unsurprisingly, was dominated by rumors and speculation.
Initially, the Toronto Raptors were the supposed favorites to sign the reigning Finals MVP, an opinion broadly based on him publicly enjoying the city of Toronto after leading the Raptors to their first ever championship. The Los Angeles Lakers then vaulted to the top of teams competing for his services, as Leonard was reportedly more keen on playing in a Big Three with LeBron James and Anthony Davis than many anticipated.
In the end, of course, Leonard signed with the LA Clippers, the team that was considered his most likely destination ever since he was traded from the San Antonio Spurs in the summer of 2018. But the particulars behind his decision are only leaking out some two and-a-half months later, and one detail is especially noteworthy.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, Dennis Robertson, Leonard’s uncle, sought benefits “outside the salary cap” as he discussed his nephew’s playing future with teams in the running.
The recruitment of Kawhi Leonard became fraught with charges that his uncle and advisor, Dennis Robertson, requested benefits outside the boundaries of the salary cap, league sources said.
Robertson’s involvement in Leonard’s career was pushed to the public forefront during the two-time Finals MVP’s dispute with the Spurs. While it was known he would play an integral role in Leonard’s free agency decision, the notion that Robertson discussed impermissible benefits during the recruitment process is significant nevertheless.
On Friday, league chairmen will vote on a slew of new anti-tampering rules, a development that seems to stem directly from not just the wildest free agency period in NBA history, but the efforts of Leonard’s uncle to procure below-board benefits, too.