Superstar small forward Kawhi Leonard was finally traded last month to the Toronto Raptors along with Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick.
Initially, reports came out after the trade that Leonard was not thrilled about joining the Raptors and that he already had his eyes set on free agency next summer. Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Sun elaborated more on Leonard's gameplan on the Back to Back podcast.
"One thing I was told last night is that Kawhi Leonard had already been planning out his free agency for next year and he had already been in contact with other star players in the league and saying 'Hey, where might you want to play with me? What are we looking at?, Arthur said (h/t RealGM).
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"It wasn't just L.A. he was talking about," he added. "Brooklyn was maybe somewhere. They're going to have a ton of cap space. That might have been a possibility."
It is not a surprise to see that Los Angeles is still being connected to Leonard as he preferably wanted to be traded to the Lakers in the first place.
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News continued on those same lines by saying the two-way superstar forward is still expected to sign with either the Lakers or Clippers next summer.
"As has been well-documented, the task for Toronto in the coming year is to persuade Leonard to stay in a place and perform for a team for which he had no desire to play just a few short weeks ago. It’s a tall order, and if the Raptors can do it, the massive gamble they took this month will have paid off," he wrote.
"Most around the league still expect that Leonard will look to return home to Southern California, either to join LeBron James with the Lakers or bring his star power to the Clippers."
Which team is the better fit for Kawhi Leonard?
Going back to what Arthur said in the podcast, if Leonard wants to team up with other star players then the Clippers would be a great fit for him.
With the Clippers, Leonard would not be playing in LeBron's shadow plus continuing to create his own legacy.
Additionally, him going to the Clippers would create a nice rivalry between the two Los Angeles teams. The Clippers just like the Lakers have the capability to offer a max contract spot to a potential loaded NBA free agency class next year.
Therefore, it should be interesting to see how this upcoming NBA season plays out. Will Leonard enjoy playing in Toronto and can they convince him to stay long-term? Or will the multiple time All-Star take his talents out west?