Every team at least fantasized about signing LeBron James last summer. Most dismissed it as unrealistic and moved on. By the end of his free agency, only the Lakers, Cavaliers, 76ers and Rockets appeared to be in the mix.
But how many teams did LeBron consider before signing with the Lakers? Any beyond Los Angeles, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Houston?
Joe Vardon of The Athletic on the “Yahoo Sports NBA: Chris Mannix” podcast:
I think at one point, Toronto was kind of a dark horse there. I think there was some sniffing around on both ends.
I’m not sure how the Raptors would have cleared max cap space or offered a satisfactory sign-and-trade to Cleveland without gutting their roster to the point it no longer appealed to LeBron. But that that they even drew consideration speaks to how far the franchise has come.
If this indicates how stars perceive Toronto, that bodes well for the Raptors re-signing Kawhi Leonard. Maybe Leonard will sign in Los Angeles like LeBron, but at least Toronto has a chance to show Leonard its best first. LeBron usually saw the Raptors at their worst.