With the 2019 NBA playoffs underway, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors are trying to take a 2-1 lead against the Orlando Magic in the first round.
After not playing in last season’s playoffs due to injury, Leonard is averaging 31.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists through two games.
As the 27-year-old is focused on winning his second championship, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers are patiently waiting to make their pitch to him on July 1.
Although the Raptors took a risk on a potential one-year rental, it appears Leonard’s teammates expect him to leave for Los Angeles, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
One former player said Leonard’s teammates expect him to leave for Los Angeles after the season, although he didn’t specify which franchise. Outside of a few who suggest Leonard might choose the Lakers, it seems almost everyone around the league (dating back to last July) believes Leonard will join the Clippers instead.
Prior to the San Antonio Spurs trading Leonard to the Raptors, his preferred destination was the Lakers. However, throughout the 2018-19 NBA season, the narrative changed to him not wanting to play with LeBron James and wanting to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers instead.
While the Lakers have $38 million in cap space available, they need to stabilize themselves first. Without a president of basketball operations and head coach, it is difficult seeing any All-Star player wanting to join James and the young core under these circumstances.