When Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Raptors last week most believed it would be just a one-year rental en route to his preferred destination, Los Angeles. Well, not so fast. According to Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune, someone close to Leonard believes he is not going to leave Toronto:
“Here’s what someone who knows Leonard as well as anybody told me privately: ‘He’s going to fall in love with Toronto – it’s going to happen. He’s not going to leave, I’m telling you.'”
This would be alarmingly bad news for the Lakers, LeBron James, and their fans who all seem confident they can get Leonard next summer when he is free to choose. It also might reflect someone who wants the Lakers to believe they need to make a move this season, before he starts playing in Toronto.
There are several reasons to believe that Leonard could become more than happy with the Raptors. In the East, Leonard would resemble LeBron as by the far the best player in the conference for a long period of time.
Maybe the Lakers or the Clippers will be joined by the third best player in the NBA in a year, but not being more aggressive in trade talks and taking the risk was a massive mistake. As things stand currently, the chances of either of the two Los Angeles’ teams playing deeper into the postseason than the Leonard-led Raptors are slim.
This could turn out to be a Paul George situation all over again.
Leonard is difficult to get a read on. With that said, the lead role with a rabid fan base, on a talented team, with several chances at the Finals, with low pressure does not sound too bad for anyone.
By the way, are we sure Los Angeles is a better city to live in than Toronto?