NBA's 2019 Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard will be one of the association's two most sought-after free agents this summer and for good reason.
After the playoff race he had equal, on average 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 helper per. Games on the way to winning his second championship, Leonard undoubtedly showed that even after he missed an entire season, he is still one of the very best players the league has to offer, if not even the best. In fact, few others may be consistent with the three-hour All-Star's two-way effect or his blend of forestry and ball-stopping toughness.
Toronto Raptors made a gamble deal for Leonard in 201
That at the same time, if he really does write elsewhere this summer, Leonard would make the story become the first player in the NBA history to change teams after winning Finals MVP, so maybe we should see the past here for a signs that Leonard will sign in July.
No matter what, here are four of the most likely freight landings for Leonard.
A Kevin Durant elite player signing the New York Knicks may seem … hope, but apparently Knick's plan to be aggressive in awakening Leonard this offseason (via Newsday ]) :
"This time, Knicks has not pushed all their chips – or max pay slips – into the pursuit of a player. According to a source of knowledge of their plans, the team is expected to push Leonard hard when the free agency begins on 30 June at While Durant's flirtation with New York has been immersed in branding deals and production opportunities, there is a contingent in the Knicks front office that is enamored not only with Leonard's two-way talents in court but with the fact that he would bring little drama with him. "
New York, wanting Leonard, does not need much explanation; he is an elite player, one who would drive the knicks from the bottom of the east to the playoffs alone.
Why Leonard would choose to sign there, on the other hand, is a little harder to put into words. Initially, they are not everywhere, and it will not be unless they can Leonardo and another topnotch free agent. Secondly, Knicks has not exactly been the most stable team in recent years, something that will surely weigh on potential free agents.
Perhaps the urge to play in a big market and continue to build his brand will probably be enough to convince Leonard that New York is the place for him, but we have to see it to believe it.
After the signing of LeBron James last summer and trading for Anthony Davis this summer, the Los Angeles Lakers is currently trying to open space for a third superstar to complete the triumvirate. And one of the options to complete LeBron's next Big Three is Leonard.
Reports have gone back and forth about whether the Lakers actually have a chance to land Leonard, but there is no doubt that if they can get enough cap space for a more max slot, they will push for him , and hard. If that were to happen, a trio of James, Davis and Leonard would be scary, could dominate the wings and in the painted area. The truth is being told, it is the type of kernel that can challenge a title right away.
But Leonard would be willing to share the ball with two other high-end opportunities, an idea he may not be so enthusiastic about, and handle all the usual drama surrounding the LeBron teams.
Furthermore, the Lakers are not the only team in Los Angeles with cap seat, and the second option is not only more stable, but also very much in play for Leonard, although they have not historically been a paradise for elite-free agents .
The latest report we have about Leonard's free agency – and many rumors since the season ended – attaches the two-year Defensive Player of the Year to Los Angeles' less popular brand, Clippers.
Here is what ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski had to say about the case early on June 18:
And in his newsletter The New York Times Marc Stein echoed these reports:
"The Clippers remain favorite among most league insiders to win Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes. But the swagger emanating from Clipperland for much of the season on the possibility of this long-lasting franchise finally landing an A-list free agent has been knocked down some. A hint of concern is inevitably enchanted when the start of the free agency draws closer and the race to ensure Leonard's formal engagement becomes more real. "
Toronto, who wins the title, may have attracted Leonards Freight Forms a bit to their advantage, but the fact that Clippers remain so stuck in the race speaks volumes.
We want to see what happens, but Leonard signs what has historically been known as LA's second team, would be a franchise-changing moment for Clippers, and kickstart what could be a fun rivalry with the Lakers in the coming year.
The team that had enough gal to try to renew their roster before the season despite having made the playoffs five years in a row so their gamble pays off beautifully in the form of an NBA championship.
Although Leonard leaves this summer, the deal would have been worth it as it helped Raptors to make history in 2018-19. And whatever, he'll be honored in Toronto forever.
Of course, the city (and the team) would still prefer him to sign again with them this offseason.
When speaking to the great parade amount that celebrates title, Leonard spoke briefly about his impending free agency …
… but said nothing remarkable on either side, whether he is planning to stay or leave.
Pascal Siakam wanted Leonard to come back with a returning Kyle Lowry and (probably) extended Pascal Siakam as one of the best teams in the league.
But even though he did, the trade was still a brilliant blow and one that changed the Raptors franchise forever.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_ .