NBA free agency: What reporters are saying after Kawhi Leonard’s meeting with the Raptors
Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS
Kawhi Leonard reportedly returned to Toronto on Wednesday – but his stay may only be temporary. A news helicopter tracked a vehicle that was believed to be transporting Leonard to a meeting with the Raptors, leading many Toronto fans to begin celebrating an eventual announcement that Leonard would be staying to defend the NBA championship. According to multiple reports, however, Leonard has not yet made his decision, and may not announce his pick until Friday at the earliest.
ESPN’s Jalen Rose reported that Leonard’s process was all but over, saying Wednesday that he was “99 percent hearing” Leonard would sign a deal with Toronto. According to Rose, Leonard was eyeing a two-year deal that would allow him to hit free agency again after his 10th year of service in the league, which would then allow him to sign the biggest possible contract available to players.
The Athletic’s Jabari Young, however, reported later on Wednesday that according to his sources, Leonard has not discussed signing a two-year deal.
FS1’s Cris Carter tweeted “breaking news” on Thursday, reporting that Leonard will not be announcing his decision on July 4th.
According to FS1’s Chris Broussard, Drake played a significant role in Toronto’s pitch, and opened the door for Leonard to join his OVO brand. Broussard is also reporting that the Clippers are out of the picture altogether.
ESPN’s Tim McMahon tweeted that according to an NBA player who will be affected by Leonard’s decision, the reigning NBA Finals MVP is going back to Toronto. McMahon clarified that his source is not Danny Green, who won a title with the Raptors in 2019 and is still on the market as a free agent.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter that Leonard will operate on his own timeline, and that all three teams hoping to land him have no idea what Leonard’s decision will be.