This is the NBA — anything can happen. Anything. It’s why the NBA wins the summer with its free agency.
Still, few people around the league expect Kawhi Leonard will remain in Toronto next summer, the money is still on him ending up in Los Angeles. Leonard said he will keep an open mind, and don’t underestimate the fact the Raptors can offer five-years, $190 million in a max deal, the most any other team can offer is four years and $141 million — Leonard is coming off missing most of a season due to injury, security may matter more to him than people think.
“I don’t know where his mind is at for the future. I can’t predict or tell you. I can just tell you that the city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there. I’ve been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It’s a great city and the fans are amazing. … I’m getting a great amount of feedback, a great amount of love and all types of different stuff from the fans. So it’s gonna be tough for him to turn down.”
Toronto has a large and passionate fan base, which may surprise Leonard. They should win a lot — and if Leonard is back to his MVP form they can challenge Boston for the top spot. Leonard does not like bright lights on him or drama around him, the Lakers always have the brightest lights and usually more drama than TNT (and they know drama). The Clippers can be that way too, while Toronto has a chance to make things go smoothly. Plus, did we mention $49 million more guaranteed?
Leonard probably still leaves, the Raptors have given themselves a shot. That’s all they can ask.