With Kawhi Leonard potentially hitting free agency next summer, the Toronto Raptors could be fighting an uphill battle to retain their superstar past this season.
On ESPN's Woj & Lowe show (h/t RealGM.com), Adrian Wojnarowski noted Leonard's focus in free agency will be playing close to home.
"They can't change the geography," Wojnarowski said. "They can't change the weather in Toronto. Those were always be things against them in this. Home and L.A. has been the focus for Kawhi Leonard through all of this."
The city of Los Angeles has consistently come up in rumors involving Leonard dating back to the offseason when the San Antonio Spurs were trying to find a trade partner.
Wojnarowski and colleague Ramona Shelburne reported in June that Leonard was going to make teams aware of his intention to sign with Los Angeles—either the Clippers or Lakers—in the summer of 2019. He has a $21.3 million player option for the 2019-20 season.
Per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, the Clippers are "obsessed" with going after Leonard and Kevin Durant in free agency next summer.
The Raptors threw caution to the wind, acquiring Leonard and Danny Green from the Spurs on July 18 despite knowing they are only guaranteed to have Leonard for one season. They are banking on the team's success and culture to convince the two-time All-Star to sign a long-term deal.
Toronto's plan has worked to perfection thus far, as the Raptors have an NBA-best 23-8 record. Leonard leads the team with 26.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.