By now, most elite players are off the board in NBA free agency. Kemba Walker has gone to the Celtics, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are with the Nets, the Sixers got Al Horford, etc. What is most important right now is Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard still has not made a decision on where he wants to play next year. Some thought the 2019 NBA Finals MVP would re-sign with the Toronto Raptors on a one or two-year deal, but since the offseason began, things have changed.
The latest reports have said that the Lakers are gaining a lot of momentum to land Leonard, with the Clippers falling out of the race. On the flip side, Toronto has yet to really say where they are at with Leonard, though they were the team to have Leonard last season.
The Clippers re-signed Moe Harkless and Patrick Beverly, that’s when Leonard lost interest in joining their squad. Leonard may have wanted them to use that money to sign another superstar, so he could have a co-star playing with him going into next season. Now, the Clippers only have room for one maximum deal.
The Lakers also have room for one more maximum deal, which they’re hoping goes to Leonard. Now there’s no doubt that this team would be considered a super team, with three of the top five players in the league starting in one lineup.
But what should worry the Lakers, is depth. Every year the Warriors won the championship, they had a good bench. This past year when the Raptors won it, they had a good bench.
The only way for the Lakers to acquire some depth is to convince veterans to take a veteran minimum on a team that will most likely win the championship if they play their cards right. There are a lot of ring chasers in the NBA, so this approach could work.
At the same time, Toronto has a lot to offer. Lowry is coming off his best postseason ever with his confidence at an all-time high, Pascal Siakam has broken out and looks like he can be an all-star, they have a good coach and depth is not an issue for their team at the moment.
It would be best for Leonard to stay in Toronto, but the fear around the NBA is that he could join the Lakers.
There’s no doubt he’s heavily considering LAL, because if he wasn’t, he would not take this long. If Leonard wants his legacy to live on as a guy who went against the super-team trend and went out and won it anyways, then re-signing is the way to go.
For now, fans will continue waiting in suspense.