Four days into 2019 NBA free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers are among three teams patiently waiting for Kawhi Leonard’s decision, which will change the landscape.
As all of the other All-Star players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have quickly made their decisions, role players are not waiting on Leonard’s decision either now.
As a result, the hope was Leonard would make his decision before the Fourth of July, so the Lakers could either build around him too or just LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
However, it appears Leonard will take his time now and rightfully so, according to Jabari Young of The Athletic:
On the Kawhi front, told he’s not making a decision tonight and it may not be until the next few days. He and his reps are going through the process and taking their time before deciding the next move. No 2-year deals have been discussed. #NBA @TheAthleticNBA
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) July 4, 2019
Through all of the silence, the Lakers reportedly believe they are ‘firmly in the lead’ to sign Leonard from the Toronto Raptors, according to Marc Stein of New York Times:
What we know:
1. The Lakers, as we've been saying for more than a week now, believe they are firmly in the lead largely through the recruiting efforts and assurances made on separate fronts from Magic Johnson and LeBron James …
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 2, 2019
Although it may be increasingly difficult to wait on Leonard as more role players sign elsewhere, he is worth it as perhaps one of the best three players in the league today.
After recently turning 28-years-old, this is the first time in Leonard’s career where he can decide on his future. As the Raptors are coming off their first championship, the one constant has been his desire to play in Los Angeles.
At this point, the Lakers have done the best they can to sign Leonard. With James and Davis, this is clearly the best opportunity for him to win multiple championships.
As the Raptors will likely be competitive for one more season at the very most, the Clippers were unable to pair him with a second All-Star player in free agency.
For Leonard, helping the Lakers win more championships with his family nearby seems like the perfect situation.