To nobody’s surprise, Kawhi Leonard declined his $21.3 million option to play for the Toronto Raptors and will become an unrestricted free agent. What is surprising is that he is seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors.
For the past two years, Leonard has been adamant that he wants to play in Los Angeles. Those plans were canceled when the San Antonio Spurs traded him to the Raptors. A championship later, Leonard has fallen in love with Toronto and nobody can blame him if he does re-sign with them.
Toronto has treated Leonard perfectly and have won his trust and appreciation in the process. They sat him in back-to-back games and were patient with him. In return, Leonard played great basketball in the payoffs and was unstoppable in his quest to win a championship. His run with the Raptors and his new friends are calling his name and telling him to re-sign with the Raptors.
While signing with the Clippers will most likely propel them to championship contenders, the Raptors are the champions. They have reached the peak and are the best team in the NBA. If Leonard re-signs, they are most likely going to make the NBA Finals again. If anything, he should defend his throne with the Raptors instead of breaking up something special.
It helps that the Raptors can offer Leonard more money than other teams. They can offer him 189.7 million max contract for five years while other teams can only offer four year, 140,6 million max contract. I don’t think money is Leonard’s driving factor. He wants to be happy and he has found out that the Raptors can offer him happiness as well as a great franchise.