Danny Green: Kawhi Leonard Will Have Hard Time Not Staying in Toronto

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2018

San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green, center, stands at the bench with injured teammates Kawhi Leonard, left, and Rudy Gay, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Antonio. Indiana won 94-86. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs traded Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors this offseason as part of the package that sent Kawhi Leonard north of the border, and the swingman believes his longtime teammate will consider staying in Canada following the 2018-19 season.

"I don't know where his mind is at for the future. I can't predict or tell you. I can just tell you that the city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there," Green said on his Inside the Green Room podcast, via Wael Saghir of The Score. "I've been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It's a great city, and the fans are amazing."

Green will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, while Leonard has a player option for the 2019-20 season.  

In mid-July, Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reported Leonard "has been clear that he plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency next summer." However, Green isn't the first to suggest Leonard may have difficulty leaving Toronto after playing there for a season.

Someone who knows Leonard privately told Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune: "He's going to fall in love with Toronto—it's going to happen. He's not going to leave, I'm telling you."

Leonard's long-term future figures to be a talking point throughout the upcoming season. He's one of the best players in the NBA when healthy, and he can single-handedly swing the title race depending on where he chooses to play next summer.

The 2014 NBA Finals MVP is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, a four-time All-Defensive selection and a two-time All-Star. He's capable of taking over a game on either side of the floor.

Leonard played only nine games with a quadriceps injury in 2017-18, and Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com reported "months of discord centering on elements of treatment, rehabilitation and timetables for return" led to "a chilling impact" on his relationship with the Spurs.

For now, he is a member of the Raptors alongside Green and Kyle Lowry, among others. While Toronto traded DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs as part of the deal, it was the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season and now has one of the league's best overall players.

An NBA Finals run is not out of the question this year, even if Leonard may not be a Raptor beyond the 2018-19 season.

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