Kawhi Leonard reportedly ‘wants to be on the West Coast’
Kawhi Leonard is among the handful of high-profile players set to hit free agency this summer, and while nothing is certain, signs continue to point to the superstar leaving the Toronto Raptors.
The latest evidence to support the suspicion that it will be one-and-done for Leonard in Toronto comes from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The NBA insider recently speculated that the lure of playing in his hometown of Los Angeles may be what seals the deal.
Windhorst, during an appearance Wednesday on ESPN’s “The Jump,” said “A lot of people in the NBA” believe Leonard is out of Toronto.
The Raptors are believed to have done well in their effort to convince the superstar to remain in Canada for the long term, but that may not be enough.
“It’s not because of anything the Raptors did. It’s just that Kawhi kind of wants to be on the West Coast,” Windhorst continued. “The difficulty is that Kawhi doesn’t really articulate his feelings to people. … It’s difficult to read. It’s difficult for them to read, who have spent every day obsessing about it for months.”
Before the San Antonio Spurs finally dealt the then-disgruntled Leonard to the Raptors, the belief was the superstar was destined to sign with the Lakers. Strangely, LeBron James’ arrival on the Lakers reportedly is now viewed as a liability, not an asset, to the team’s prospective targets in free agency.
Further, even before the disastrous first season of the Lakers’ LeBron era, Leonard was said to have a preference for the Clippers, and subsequent reporting has at the very least substantiated that notion as a reasonable theory.
Interestingly, Leonard’s reported preference for the West Coast comes on the same day as the news that another superstar likely will be setting up shop in a new NBA town ahead of next season.
All that said, anything can happen in NBA free agency, so all options conceivably remain on the table for every player, in particular for someone as supposedly mysterious and mercurial as Leonard.