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SportFour potential Kawhi Leonard landing spots in free agency

17:17  19 june  2019
17:17  19 june  2019 Source:   hoopshype.com

Kawhi Leonard struggled to understand why his teammates weren't as good as him in college

Kawhi Leonard struggled to understand why his teammates weren't as good as him in college Kawhi Leonard is one of the toughest defenders in the NBA, but in college, he struggled to grasp on of the most important concepts in the sport.

The NBA’s 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard will be one of the Association’s two most sought-after free agents this summer, and with good reason. After the playoff run he just had, averaging 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game en route to winning his second championship

We break down Barton’s likeliest landing spots . Nevertheless, it’s unlikely the Suns will find themselves suitors for the big free agents once the market opens up on July 1. However, secondary targets, like Barton, should be right in their MVP Race: Jimmy Butler slipping, Kawhi Leonard rising.

Four potential Kawhi Leonard landing spots in free agency© USA TODAY USA TODAY

The NBA's 2019 Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, will be one of the Association's two most sought-after free agents this summer, and with good reason.

After the playoff run he just had, averaging 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game en route to winning his second championship, Leonard proved beyond a doubt that even after missing basically a full season, he's still one of the very best players the league has to offer, if not the downright best. For a fact, few others can match the three-time All-Star's two-way impact, or his blend of bucket-getting expertise and ball-stopping toughness.

Opinion: Kawhi Leonard getting vengeance against Warriors in NBA Finals

Opinion: Kawhi Leonard getting vengeance against Warriors in NBA Finals Kawhi Leonard says he isn't out for revenge for 2017, but the Warriors must feel like the Raptors star has a score to settle this NBA Finals.

Hood will be a restricted free agent and after the way he has performed (averaging 4 .6 points on 39.6 percent shooting in the playoffs) and acted (refused to So much of what the San Antonio Spurs do this offseason depends on what Kawhi Leonard ’s future with the team holds. Even after their season

We break down Smart’s likeliest free - agent landing spots . Brooklyn Nets. If Boston passes on matching the Spurs’ theoretical offer to Smart, that would leave San Antonio with a 1 through 3 of Dejounte Murray, Smart and Kawhi Leonard (provided their rift with the superstar wing gets resolved

The Toronto Raptors made a gamble trading for Leonard in 2018, granted, one that paid off in spades, but a gamble nonetheless, because word was, back when Leonard made the original trade request, that the superstar forward wanted to end up in Los Angeles. We'll see if winning a title with Toronto changed his mind at all, but Leonard's name is still being connected to the two L.A. teams as we approach free agency, so that might not be a great sign for the Raptors.

At the same time, if he really does sign elsewhere this summer, Leonard would make history by becoming the first player in NBA history to switch teams after winning Finals MVP, so maybe we should look at the past here for a sign as to where Leonard will sign come July.

Either way, here are four of the likeliest free-agent landing spots for Leonard.

Kawhi Leonard caps epic playoff run as NBA Finals MVP

Kawhi Leonard caps epic playoff run as NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors to the first championship in team history and became the third player to win Finals MVP with two different teams. “Obviously, I didn't come out in this series trying to win it,” Leonard said. “It was a whole group collectively. Tonight Fred (VanVleet) played amazing in that fourth. Kyle (Lowry) played amazing tonight throughout the whole game. Pascal (Siakam) played big. I just kept striving and pushing, and I ended up with the trophy but everybody deserves it.

One of the most productive big men of 2018-19 is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, and, without a doubt, he’ll have a bevy of suitors. Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic had a terrific regular season, averaging 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 steals

We break down five potential landing spots for San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker in 2018 NBA free agency . With Eric Bledsoe manning the starting lead-guard spot , Malcolm Brogdon missing long chunks of the season due to a partially MVP Race: Jimmy Butler slipping, Kawhi Leonard rising.

Four potential Kawhi Leonard landing spots in free agency© USA TODAY USA TODAY

NEW YORK KNICKS

A non- Kevin Durant elite player signing with the New York Knicks may seem… hopeful, but apparently, the Knicks plan on being aggressive in wooing Leonard this offseason (via the Newsday):

"This time, the Knicks are not pushing all of their chips - or max salary slots - into the pursuit of one player. According to a source with knowledge of their plans the team is expected to push hard for Leonard when free agency begins on June 30 at 6 p.m. While Durant's flirtation with New York has been immersed in talk of branding deals and production opportunities, there is a contingent in the Knicks front office that is enamored not just with Leonard's two-way talents on the court, but with the fact that he would bring little drama with him."

New York wanting Leonard doesn't need much explanation; he's an elite player, one that would propel the Knicks from the bottom of the East to the playoffs by himself.

NBA free agency: What are options for Raptors' Kawhi Leonard?

NBA free agency: What are options for Raptors' Kawhi Leonard? Toronto forward is newly minted Finals MVP and helped lead the Raptors to first title in their 24-year history. But is he ready for a new challenge?

Lakers get Kawhi Leonard . 2. Philadelphia 76ers. Just because they are number two on my list of potential landing spots for Kawhi doesn’t They would have three legitimate DPOY candidates in their starting five. If they could resign Rondo and some other role players as free agents , they would

Kawhi Anthony Leonard (/kəˈwaɪ/, born June 29, 1991) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Why Leonard would choose to sign there, on the other hand, is a bit harder to put into words. For starters, they're not anywhere near contention, and probably won't be, unless they can woo Leonard and another topnotch free agent. Secondly, the Knicks haven't exactly been the most stable team over recent years, something that will surely weigh on the minds of prospective free agents.

Maybe the urge to play in a huge market and continue building his brand will be enough to convince Leonard that New York is the place for him, but we'll have to see it to believe it.

Four potential Kawhi Leonard landing spots in free agency© USA TODAY USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

After signing LeBron James last summer and trading for Anthony Davis this summer, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently trying to open up space for a third superstar to complete the triumvirate. And one of the options to complete LeBron's next Big Three is Leonard.

Reports have gone back and forth as to whether the Lakers actually have a chance to land Leonard, but there's no doubt that if they can get enough cap space for one more max slot, they're going to push for him, and hard. If it were to happen, a trio of James, Davis and Leonard would be terrifying, capable of dominating on the wings and in the painted area. Truth be told, that's the type of core that can challenge for a title right away.

Raptors are working on their pitch to get Kawhi Leonard to stay

Raptors are working on their pitch to get Kawhi Leonard to stay The Raptors’ pitch to Kawhi Leonard to remain with the organization is still being discussed but is near completion, general manager Bobby Webster told the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith and other media members. “There’s definitely more (things to be done),” Webster said. “As you can imagine, there are a ton of thoughts and ideas.” Aside from the financial implications — the Raptors can offer their superstar a five-year deal worth nearly $190M, while other suitors can give him a four-year, $140.

But Leonard would have to be willing to share the ball with two other high-usage options, an idea he may not be so privy to, as well as deal with all the usual drama that surrounds LeBron teams.

Plus, the Lakers aren't the only team in Los Angeles with cap space, and the other option is not just more stable, but also, reportedly, very much in play for Leonard, even if they haven't historically been a haven for elite free agents.

Four potential Kawhi Leonard landing spots in free agency© USA TODAY USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

The latest report we have on Leonard's free agency - and a lot of the rumors since the season ended - tie the two-time Defensive Player of the Year to Los Angeles' less popular brand, the Clippers.

Here's what ESPN'sAdrian Wojnarowski had to say on the matter early on June 18:

And in his newsletter, The New York Times'Marc Stein echoed those reports:

"The Clippers remain the favorite among most league insiders to win the Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes. But the swagger that emanated from Clipperland for much of the season about the ability of this long-suffering franchise to finally land an A-list free agent has been dialed down some. A hint of concern has inevitably creeped in as the start of free agency draws closer and the race to secure Leonard's formal commitment becomes more real."

Kawhi Leonard free agency: What the Raptors can do if star leaves

Kawhi Leonard free agency: What the Raptors can do if star leaves The Raptors didn't come close to the Finals until the arrival of Leonard, and they made changes to build around him for a championship run. One constant in Toronto's organization is Kyle Lowry, who has spent the last seven seasons with the team. But, despite being a five-time All-Star and maintaining his position as the heartbeat of the Raptors, he found himself in trade rumor talk as the 2019 deadline approached. Lowry has become a Canadian icon, but Toronto's general manager has made it very clear he'll do anything he can to win.

Toronto winning the title may have tilted Leonard's free-agent fortunes slightly in their favor, but the fact that the Clippers remain so firmly in the race speaks volumes.

We'll see what happens, but Leonard signing with what has historically been known as L.A.'s second team would be a franchise-changing moment for the Clippers, and kickstart what could be a fun rivalry with the Lakers for years to come.

Four potential Kawhi Leonard landing spots in free agency© USA TODAY USA TODAY

TORONTO RAPTORS

The team that had enough gall to try and revamp their roster before the season despite having made the playoffs five years in a row saw their gamble pay off beautifully in the form of an NBA championship.

Even if Leonard leaves this summer, the trade would have been worth it since it helped the Raptors make history in 2018-19. And no matter what, he'll be revered in Toronto forever.

Of course, the city (and team) would still prefer he re-sign with them this offseason.

When talking to the huge parade crowd celebrating the title, Leonard did briefly talk about his impending free agency…

…but didn't say anything noteworthy on either side, be it that he is planning on staying or leaving.

Regardless, having Leonard come back, along with a returning Kyle Lowry and (likely) extended Pascal Siakam would have Toronto right back where they left off this season, as one of the best teams in the league.

Reports: Kevin Durant talking to Kawhi Leonard about teaming up on Clippers, Knicks

Reports: Kevin Durant talking to Kawhi Leonard about teaming up on Clippers, Knicks LeBron James wants to team up with Kawhi Leonard on the Lakers, forming a three-man superteam with Anthony Davis that could be the best trio the NBA has ever seen. That idea seemed to be gaining momentum. However, he’s not the only superstar talking to Leonard about teaming up. Multiple reports have Kevin Durant and his team in New York talking with Leonard as well about joining forces, either on the Knicks or Clippers. There is this from Shams Charania of The Athletic. Rival executives told The Athletic they believe Durant has considered a possible partnership with Leonard throughout the pre-free agency process so far.

But even if he does go, the trade was still a stroke of genius, and one that changed the Raptors franchise forever.

You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.

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