More than halfway into the season, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors somewhat surprisingly are tied for the best record in the NBA.
While it has been a seamless process integrating Leonard, all of the attention has naturally remained on his upcoming free agency.
After only playing nine games in his final season with the San Antonio Spurs, the 27-year-old is showing why he is arguably the third-best player in the league right now behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Despite the individual and team success in Toronto, Leonard’s mindset has not really changed at this point and that doesn’t appear to bode well for the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN:
Woj: “They can’t change the geography, they can’t change the weather in Toronto. Those were always be things against them in this. Home and L.A. has been the focus for Kawhi Leonard through all of this.”
Lowe: “Kawhi, I think we all would agree that the Lakers certainly are not the favorite and probably are a distant third at best.”
Woj: “It’s the Clippers.”
As there will be conflicting reports leading up to Leonard’s decision come the start of free agency on July 1, his desire to play in his hometown has remained consistent. With the Clippers having two max contract slots, there have been reports of players not wanting to be James’ second star on the Lakers.
Regardless of what happens, the Lakers have given themselves multiple options. With James and the young core in place, they will have $38 million in salary cap space and can get creative in free agency or via trade.
There’s a belief Anthony Davis is the Lakers primary target, ahead of pending free agents Kevin Durant, Leonard and Klay Thompson.
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