Kawhi Leonard open-minded on future with Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors newly acquired superstar Kawhi Leonard is keeping an open mind about his future heading into the upcoming NBA season. Despite his constant and relentless links with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, the 27-year-old will not rule out re-signing with the Raptors, according to Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News.
“Based off me talking to people within his circle, they’re going into this thing with an open mind and give this thing every last opportunity to work. And at the end of the day, if that’s the case, then it would be great if he stays. Obviously, I think part of his mind, yes, let’s keep it real: I think he still feels like L.A. might be the destination. At the same time, he plans to go into this thing with an open mind, giving it every single shot in the world to make it work”
Leonard forced his way out of the San Antonio Spurs organization this off-season as his relationship with the franchise deteriorated over the course of last campaign. Leonard missed 73 games last season, but when healthy is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the world. The Raptors sent All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs in exchange for Leonard’s services, but even without DeRozan the Raptors remain one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference.
Despite Leonard’s switch to Canada, the noise around his future hasn’t stopped, as the former Defensive Player of the Year continues to be linked with a move back home to LA. It’s reported the Lakers are still Leonard’s preference despite being traded, but whether he eventually teams up with LeBron James and company in the purple of gold remains to be seen.
As we’ve witnessed with the Paul George situation with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a year-long stint can be significant in the hopes of re-signing a superstar. There is little doubt the Raptors will do everything in their power to convince the six-foot-seven forward to stay long term, but it won’t be easy as teams are already circling to lure him back to the States.
The last time Leonard played consistent competitive basketball was at the end of 2016-17 NBA season he averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 33.4 minutes per game.
Leonard is reportedly fully healthy for training camp, and ready to help the Raptors this season despite his future remaining largely unclear.