Report: Kawhi Leonard to tell teams he’ll sign with L.A. team in 2019
Kawhi Leonard may want out of San Antonio but a report suggests he’s not making it all that easy on the Spurs to grant his wish.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski are reporting that Leonard intends to inform teams making inquiries about acquiring him via trade that regardless of where he potentially ends up that he plans to sign with an Los Angeles-based team in 2019 as a free agent, with the Lakers being his top choice.
Leonard wants a trade to Los Angeles, preferably the Lakers over the Clippers, league sources said. He has privately maintained that he no longer wants to play in San Antonio, and will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intentions are to sign in Los Angeles — preferably with the Lakers — when he can become a free agent in 2019, league sources said.
The above reporting has been corroborated by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who writes of “deep suspicions” in NBA circles that Leonard is determined to join the Lakers in 2019 as an unrestricted free agent.
Leonard’s reported plan would seem to tie the Spurs’ hands when it comes to trading him to any team outside of the Lakers or Clippers. The Spurs reportedly have long insisted there is no intention of trading Leonard to a Western Conference team; not to mention “little interest” in dealing him to the Lakers.
Reports this week seemed to confirm earlier speculation that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Leonard would meet before the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday. While the outcome of their reported meeting in San Diego on Tuesday remains unclear, everything seems to point at Leonard’s time in San Antonio coming to an end, despite the fact the Spurs can offer the disgruntled superstar a five-year, $219 million super-max contract.