With the 2019 NBA playoffs in progress, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors are currently tied at 1-1 against the Orlando Magic in the first round.
As Leonard is focused on his second championship, the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to sort things out without a president of basketball operations and head coach.
While the Lakers should have ideally hired Magic Johnson’s replacement first, general manager Rob Pelinka is currently interviewing Luke Walton’s replacement.
Since ‘a lot of people in the NBA’ think Leonard will not re-sign with the Raptors, general mananger Bobby Webster is aware one factor could impact the former’s decision, according to Dan Woike of Los Angeles Times:
“Of course there is. There is,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster told the Los Angeles Times of postseason success correlating to Leonard’s decision.
“… It’s not all about what happens at the end of the season. It’s about what’s gone on to this point. From the day we acquired him, it’s the ground work.”
Through all of the conflicting reports, the one constant has been Leonard wanting to play in the West Coast. However, if the Raptors reach or even win the 2019 NBA Finals, the 27-year-old would have to consider re-signing with them.
As for the Lakers, they preserved their max-contract slot for 2019 free agency. While the goal remains signing or trading for a second All-Star player alongside LeBron James, the Lakers need to stabilize themselves first before even thinking of landing a player of Leonard’s caliber come July 1.