It was a two-team race for Kawhi Leonard‘s services: The Los Angeles Clippers and the Toronto Raptors.
The Lakers were not in the picture. Sources told NBC Sports as far back as last summer that Leonard would not team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles, that superteams and the drama that always surrounds the Lakers (and LeBron) was not what he wanted. It wasn’t just NBC who reported that, it was what was told to reporters around the league.
In the last 48 hours, things seem to have shifted.
As Marc Stein of The New York Times noted, Las Vegas bookmakers and voices around the league are now saying the Lakers may be the team that poaches Leonard from Toronto.
The internal confidence of the Lakers is real, they believe they are going to land Leonard.
There’s a lot we don’t know, and that starts with what the inscrutable Kawhi Leonard is actually thinking. How much of this buzz is from people around Leonard talking and how much is Leonard himself? And can the Raptors, who have the last say, convince him to come back and chase another ring north of the border? Maybe the idea of teaming up with LeBron and Anthony Davis is too much for Leonard to resist.
All we know: Things change fast in NBA free agency and the pendulum could swing another direction fast.