A lot of people expected the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers to make a big trade after the Lakers won the LeBron James sweepstakes, but it turns out the signing of King James appeared to get in the way of the Lakers’ chance at landing Kawhi Leonard.
While the reports of Leonard wanting to play in Los Angeles were indeed true, it turns out that all changed after LeBron agreed to a deal with the Lakers because Leonard has no interest of joining a ‘super team’. On top of competing with James to be the face of the franchise, a move to the Clippers would still put him in competition with King James, only it would be for the face of the entire city of Los Angeles and not just a single team.
So where does that leave Leonard?
Some analysts and reporters are still expecting the Lakers to pull off some sort of deal to land the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but now some Eastern Conference teams are starting to make some noise since the entire conference is up for grabs with LeBron moving to the west, including the Toronto Raptors.
According to the Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps, there’s some serious buzz around the Raptors being a possible landing spot for Leonard and Masai Ujiri isn’t afraid to throw his big names into the trade talks.
Ujiri has never been afraid to involve his star players in trade talks with other teams, especially if it means landing one of the game’s top stars on both ends of the court. Although Toronto is one of the furthest cities from his hometown Los Angeles, a move to the Raptors might make a lot of sense for Leonard. He would get to join a team that’s expected to be in the race for top spot in the conference and he wouldn’t have to worry about superstar egos getting in the way of the day-to-day operations considering how close the Raptors are as a team both on and off the court.
The Raptors certainly have plenty of young talent on their roster that they can include the trade such as Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet or OG Anunoby, and they’ve also got the picks and veteran talent to go with them. However, based on what the Spurs are asking for in return from the Lakers, it’s starting to look like Leonard will have to wait one more summer before he can finally depart San Antonio.