Fred VanVleet said Sunday there is nothing more that Toronto Raptors can do to convince Kawhi Leonard to sign again with the team, but he and several teammates expressed their hope that the NBA Finals MVP decides to return.
Leonard, who led Raptors to a six-game NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors in his first season with Toronto, is expected to deselect the last year of his contract and become a free agent.
"I think of us, there is nothing more we can do, we have done it. The city has done what this franchise had done. The coaches have done it. The way to recruit someone is to be yourself during the year, and I would assume he knows what is here and what makes this place special, "said VanVleet at the team's first media availability since winning the NBA title. [1
VanVleet added that if Leonard" is on another team, then we should just kick his ass next year, "laughter from journalists present. "[Hopefullyhe'llbeback"hesaid
Raptor's forward Pascal Siakam said about Leonard that Raptors "definitely want him back."
Center Marc Gasol said Sunday that Leonard's elite to road games make him one of a kind. "" I don't think there is any other player of his caliber right now in the NBA, Gasol said. "He's on a pedestal by himself." "With such status said longtime teammate Danny Green that Leonard's decision is sure to have a ripple effect across the NBA. "
" Let's not be foolish, "said Green." His decision affects many guys' decisions. He can change an entire organization. & # 39; & # 39;
Raptor president Masai Ujiri is also subject to speculation, linked to an offer from the Washington Wizards. Ujiri, who was not available Sunday, is expected to speak on Monday's parade, ending in the square outside of Toronto's Town Hall.
Even after a year together, Raptor's coach Nick Nurse said he has no idea which way Leonard is leaning.
"I don't really know," said the nurse. "I know he should make a decision here very soon, some weeks. I think he has a good season and people like him here and we can give him a good deal. & # 39; & # 39;
Gasol may also choose from the last year of his contract, while Green, a free agent, said he hopes to return.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.