While things are subject to change, the general belief is that there are three teams in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes: the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers and Toronto Raptors.
However, if you were to ask anyone within the Lakers organization, they’d probably tell you they’ve got Leonard in the bag.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Lakers are confident with where they stand with Leonard after his conversation with Magic Johnson on Sunday. It also seems LeBron James has done some recruiting, too:
What we know:— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 2, 2019
1. The Lakers, as we've been saying for more than a week now, believe they are firmly in the lead largely through the recruiting efforts and assurances made on separate fronts from Magic Johnson and LeBron James ...
However, in spite of their confidence, the Lakers aren’t expected to leak anything of significance out of respect for Leonard and his camp, who want to keep this process as low key as possible:
2. Officials from both the Lakers and Clippers appear to determined to say as little as possible -- less than ever for a free agent of this prominence as @ryenarussillo likes to say -- to avoid upsetting Kawhi's camp when they have insisted on total silence— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 2, 2019
Uh... Let’s just ignore that basically Johnson’s whole conversation with Leonard leaked, then, or hope his camp only cares about leaks from people currently employed by the Raptors, Lakers or Clippers.
Regardless, leaking much more than that at this stage would be premature because, as far as we know, Leonard has yet to meet with the Raptors. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported on Friday, Toronto will be the last team Leonard meets with.
On top of the official team pitch the Raptors will make, they’ll also reportedly get a little help from Toronto’s own Aubrey Graham, the rapper better known as Drake:
3. The Raptors haven't backed off one centimeter and Drake is said to be mounting his own recruiting campaign on top of whatever the freshly minted champions are doing to convince him to stay— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 2, 2019
If Drake drops the anthem of the summer titled “Chips With the Dip” and Leonard gets a shoutout like, “No slowing down now, I’m just hitting my prime/Find me posted in The Six with Kawhi, apple time,” it’s going to be hard for the Lakers to come up with a better pitch.
But even then, the Lakers would still be a pretty appealing destination for Leonard, who would make Los Angeles title favorites upon his arrival. Here’s to hoping Leonard makes his decision sooner rather than later, and that the Lakers’ confidence isn’t misplaced.
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