Earlier this summer, Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors by the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard wanted to be traded to Los Angeles but that didn’t end up happening. He may get his wish granted sort of because it seems like he plans to go to Los Angeles after the upcoming season.
As of now, it seems like either Los Angeles team is an option. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers both want Leonard. An interesting story circulating on the internet is that the Clippers fired analyst and former NBA player Bruce Bowen because he criticized Leonard. That alone should be enough to land Leonard!
All jokes aside, Leonard is highly coveted and any team that can offer him a max contract will do so. The Raptors would like to retain Leonard because they traded their franchise player DeMar DeRozan for him even though he has one year left on his contract. Hearing the news that Leonard still wants to play in Los Angeles may already be breaking their heart.
As we have seen lately, players are leaving their teams more often now than before. And they should. Players are drafted to a team and initially have no say where they end up. When they earn the right to sign with any team, they should use it. Fans tend to begrudge NBA players for leaving and not being loyal but teams do it all the time.
If Leonard wants to play in Los Angeles, he should sign with them next year. It sucks if you are a Raptors fan but that isn’t Leonard’s problem. You can’t even blame Leonard at this point because he made it clear in the beginning he wanted to play in Los Angeles. The Raptors took a big risk by trading for him and they may have to pay for it.
San Antonio got off easy in this situation because they were able to get back a lot for Leonard considering he only made himself available for a team in L.A.. Even though Leonard asked to be traded to Los Angeles, the Spurs had the choice to honor it or choose not to. He is under contract and until it expired, his say on the matter means nothing.
Players should follow suit and do what LeBron James is doing. He was signing two year contracts with an option for the second year. That way, he has all the power in his hand. Player options are hard to attain if you don’t have the leverage to do so. NBA players should always try to get a player option in their contract and even a no-trade clause. That way, you have power even though you are under contract.
The Leonard saga continues and it will be fun to watch. Will he resign with the Raptors if they thrive with him? Or will he leave for a much warmer Los Angeles. We will find out next summer but either way, Leonard will be much richer when that happens.