The world thought Kawhi being traded from San Antonio to Toronto was one big mistake waiting to happen, but both proved everybody who doubted them wrong. The Raptors captured their first NBA championship after defeating the Golden State Warriors in six games, which may have ended one of the shortest, most dominant runs in league history.
Kawhi was nothing short of spectacular scoring 30+ points in 14 playoff games (T-4th most) and carried the team on his back when they needed him to guide the ship. He was lethal on both ends of the floor and his nonchalant mentality rubbed off on the entire team keeping them focused game in and game out. Even when Leonard missed time due to injury, the Raptors were 17-5, which shows how his championship demeanor was growing on them as a unit. They gelled very well in such a short time that it takes to wonder should he stick around and build his legacy in Canada? One might wonder if he could become the best by simply staying put in a foreign country and putting his stamp on a franchise that took a chance on him.
There will be a lot of questions this offseason about where he will play next, but Toronto may still have an advantage when it comes to solidarity. Yes, that may be the biggest key to keeping the Finals MVP in the northern city.
Leonard had a bad taste in his mouth after the long-standing feud with the Spurs from office, which caused him to miss most of 2017-2018 by only appearing in nine games due to a quad injury. It was disheartening to watch the day to day drama that dragged on until he was traded to the Raptors in 2018.
It probably cuts his destinations down to a handful of teams (if that) that offer exactly what he’s looking to gain out of his next and maybe last stop.
The perfect landing spot, in my opinion, would be the Clippers because it offers everything that could carry him to the next level of his career. Los Angeles offers a championship coach in Doc Rivers who has the same pedigree as his coach in San Antonio Gregg Popovich. Rivers guided a rebuilding Clippers team to the playoffs this past season after trading away their best players over the last two seasons in Paul, Griffin, and Jordan. The Clippers also have a strong, young nucleus that could be beneficial to Leonard as he ages. They also have the cap room to pair him with another superstar player to give him a solid chance of making another championship run. It doesn’t hurt that he’s from California, playing his high school and college years in the state.
We’ve heard rumors about the Lakers possibly pursuing him, but their front office is shaky and Kawhi is too laid back to inject himself into a dysfunctional environment. Yes, he would get to play alongside one of the greatest players ever, plus the addition of Anthony Davis. A team now constructed to contend for an NBA championship. However, you throw him in the mix and he’s back hoisting another MVP award and Finals trophy.
Kawhi said during an interview after their Game 6 victory that, “He would take his time, enjoy the moment with his teammates, He’ll worry about that later!”
He’s is not in a rush to make a decision anytime soon because he has to put into account that this could be the beginning of a prosperous run. If anything, you have found out about him is that money is not an object, but family and trust are a priority on his list.
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