Kawhi Leonard may Not Join Lakers due to LeBron James

kawhi-leonard-clippersESPN’s Stephen A. Smith recently reported that Kawhi Leonard was hesitant about joining the LA Lakers in free agency next season. The alleged reason why is that LeBron James is already there.

Leonard, who became unhappy with the San Antonio Spurs last season, named an LA team (Lakers or Clippers) as his top trade destination. However, the Spurs instead shipped him to the Toronto Raptors in a deal for DeMar DeRozan.

Many speculated that Leonard would eventually leave San Antonio for the Lakers in the 2019 offseason if he wasn’t traded. After all, this would allow him to form a powerful duo with James.

But now it’s unclear where he’ll go based on Smith’s report. Smith isn’t the only one who wonders if the Lakers are now off the table for Leonard. Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania also recently questioned where the All-Star forward will go, which you can read about below.

Leonard Not Interested in Joining Super Team

Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Charania sounded skeptical on which uniform Kawhi Leonard will be playing in next season. Here’s what Charania said on The Herd:

kawhi-leonard-cavs-1“One thing that’s been made abundantly clear. I’m going to stress this. There’s no guarantee if Kawhi Leonard hits the market next summer that he’s going to sign with the Lakers, period. I think his options have broadened a little bit, just inside L.A. There’s another team, obviously, in L.A. I think he’d be very much open to the Clippers.

“And there’s a belief around the league that if the Sixers came hard, that there could be a potential there for him potentially being there long-term.

“I don’t think there’s much interest in the Boston Celtics scenario for him.

“Around Kawhi, what’s been made abundantly clear is there’s not an interest to go join a super team. I don’t think he’s jumping for joy that LeBron James is in LA with the Lakers. If anything, that’s going to make him look maybe more toward the Clippers.

“Because this is a guy that won Finals MVP against LeBron James. You think he’s amped up and wants to join LeBron now? I think that’s been overstated, and the Spurs are beginning to realize that and beginning to realize that we might have a broadened market for him.”

Where will Leonard End Up?

When Leonard said that he wanted to be in LA, many automatically assumed that he meant the Lakers. But the current Raptors forward also seems interested in joining the Clippers too.

kawhi-leonard-rockets-game-6This means that the Clippers might try extra hard to pursue him in the summer, especially since they’ll have the necessary cap space. The Philadelphia 76ers, who have a bevy of young talent, are also in play for Leonard.

There’s even the possibility that the Raptors are able to retain Leonard past the 2019 season. After all, the OKC Thunder were able to convince Paul George to re-sign for a 4-year deal. Before this, George seemed adamant about playing for the Lakers.

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Leonard in the 2019 offseason.