With the NBA Finals ahead, the basketball world’s eyes are set on the matchup between Kawhi Leonard and the Golden State Warriors. Sure, there are others involved, but for how much longer remains a questions, especially if you go off of what Leonard’s Uncle Dennis has to say about anything.
Following the Toronto Raptors’ surprising win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the subject of Leonard’s trade to Canada was broached, and as you’d expect, it was complicated (via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports):
“‘When you are initially traded somewhere you didn’t asked to be, you don’t want to accept it,” Robertson told Yahoo Sports. ‘But once you get through that period, the focus then turns to giving your all and performing at a high level. It never had anything to do with the city of Toronto. It wasn’t. Toronto is a beautiful city. Kawhi has often spoke highly of Toronto. It’s a beautiful place. That was just an initial reaction, which is normal. But we’re enjoying this run and looking forward to the Finals.’”
Things like trades — and really any other personnel movement — can get tricky quickly, and such decisions usually involve several layers. Leonard’s trade to the North seems to be no exception to that rule.
For Leonard (through Uncle Dennis), the focus is still on the series ahead of him:
“Much of the NBA Finals chatter will be about what takes place after the series because the matchup features three of the top pending free agents in Leonard, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
“‘I can’t get into other free agents and other teams, but for Kawhi, he’s going to take it one day and one game at a time,’ Robertson told Yahoo Sports. ‘We have a championship opportunity in front of us. We’re not thinking about free agency; it’s the Warriors [right now]. Once we get through the season, we’ll turn our attention to free agency. But we’re just having fun right now. This has been a great year.’”
Leonard is quite possibly the most difficult prospective free agent to read. He and his camp simply cannot be predicted. So the last thing I’m going to do is attempt to figure such a thing out. If you’re into that, though, BetDSI has him at 4/1 odds to end up a Laker at the start of next season.
Maybe a Raptors championship and the reception to it is enough to keep Leonard in Toronto. Maybe he would consider that enough of an accomplishment to move on. Hell, his decision might have been made already. Maybe the Lakers’ dysfunction doesn’t matter. There’s no way to understand even where to start on figuring out where his head might be, so those tea leaves will go unread.
The optimistic reading of all this if you’re a Laker fan is to note that if there is no reading, there’s no negative reading. Given all the drama of the last couple weeks, that’s some of the most positive analysis of the Lakers offseason that you might find.