For the next year, few players will be under the microscope as much as Kawhi Leonard. After a mysterious saga in San Antonio that saw him miss all but nine games last season due to injury, Leonard demanded a trade. While his preferred destinations were in Los Angeles, the former Spurs star was eventually moved to the Toronto Raptors.
The Raps took a risk trading for Leonard who is one of the very elite players in the league when healthy. Should it pay off, they could reach the NBA Finals in an Eastern Conference no longer dominated by LeBron James. But Leonard is a free agent in 2019 and it’s unclear whether he would be willing to stay in Toronto, which was not on his original list of destinations given to the Spurs.
Nevertheless, Leonard is saying the right things. He does not intend to sit out as was threatened before the trade occurred. But the former defensive player of the year is not committing beyond this year, either:
This isn’t exactly surprising news, but it is notable. Leonard reportedly bought a house in Toronto but it doesn’t appear as though the forward is intent on staying in Canada just yet.
If the Raptors have the amount of success Leonard sees fit, it would be easy to see him stay in a great situation. If not, he could take his talents to Southern California where both the Lakers and the Clippers will have the required space to sign him.