As Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors are competing in the 2019 NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for the 2019 NBA Draft and free agency.
Still without a president of basketball operations and head coach, the Lakers will need to quickly find replacements in order to stabilize themselves.
While the Lakers will have $38 million in cap space, there will be stiff competition from the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, and New York Knicks.
Although there have been conflicting reports about Leonard, there appears to be one constant heading into July 1, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
“A lot of people in the NBA think that Kawhi is out of there, but it’s not because of anything the Raptors did. It’s just that Kawhi kind of wants to be on the West Coast. The difficulty is that Kawhi doesn’t really articulate his feelings to people.”
At this stage of the 2018-19 NBA season, it appears the Raptors will have to win the 2019 NBA Finals for Leonard to consider re-signing with them. Through all of these reports and as Windhorst states, the 27-year-old wants to play in the West Coast.
While Leonard reportedly wanted the San Antonio Spurs to trade him to the Lakers initially, the narrative has changed to him not wanting to play with LeBron James and signing with the Clippers instead. As Leonard is focused on the present, James appeared to tell him ‘we’ll be in touch’ following the Lakers-Raptors game in Toronto.