After a long saga that saw him request a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors earlier this offseason. It was a calculated risk on the part of the Raptors, who were not one of Leonard’s favored destinations. The 2019 free agent reportedly wanted to be in Los Angeles, preferring to sign with the Lakers.
After the trade to Toronto, where he has a legitimate chance at reaching the NBA Finals, Leonard’s feelings don’t seem to have changed. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the former Defensive Player of the Year is still “primarily interested” in a move to Los Angeles in July.
Of course, things change in a heartbeat in the NBA and August is way too early to judge Leonard’s sentiments. If the Raptors are as good as advertised and Leonard enjoys the city, then they will have a great chance at re-signing him. The Lakers learned this lesson with Paul George last year after he was traded to the Thunder.
Nevertheless, the Lakers seemed content to not overpay for Leonard and hang their hopes on signing him next year. At this point, all they can do is wait and hope that Leonard won’t change his mind. The Clippers, who quietly have cap space to sign two max free agents next summer, will do the same.