Kawhi Leonard doesn’t want to play for Raptors
According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Leonard isn’t too keen on playing for the franchise north of the border.
Kawhi Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, league source tells ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 18, 2018
Leonard has said multiple times (through his representatives) that he intends to be in a major market, particularly in the City of Angels with the express intent of flanking LeBron James. Why the aloof Spur seeks the spotlight is another question altogether and although he doesn’t have veto powers, he does hold a similarly threatening chip in that he could leave Toronto as soon as his one year is up and even not suit up at all.
However, as the Paul George trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder has shown, it’s very possible to win over a seemingly one-year rental superstar. It may not be an accurate comparison considering that the Thunder has a reigning MVP in Russell Westbrook to make a long-term stay palatable, while the Raptors’ closest player to Westbrook’s caliber (and that’s pushing it a lot) is the 32-year-old Kyle Lowry – assuming that indeed, the centerpiece of the trade is DeMar Derozan and very possibly the promising OG Anunoby, which basically guts the roster.
Overall, it’s not looking very good for their chances of convincing the 6-foot-8 defensive dynamo to stay. But it’s still early and the team could still bolster their roster with some creative wheeling and dealing that we wouldn’t put past general manager Masai Ujiri.