Raptors' Kawhi Leonard Explains His Decision Process Amid NBA Free-Agency Rumors

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2019

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 17:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors holds the MVP trophy during the Toronto Raptors Victory Parade on June 17, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2 to win the 2019 NBA Finals.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

With NBA free agency less than two weeks away, Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard has not offered much insight into his plans. He has, however, said he will take time to make the best decision. 

"I'm going to take the right time," Leonard said Monday, per the Associated Press' Ian Harrison. "You don't need too many days to figure it out. We'll see what happens. Once that time comes, then we'll all lay the pros and cons out."

Leonard added he hasn't shifted his focus to his potential free agency.

"I'm enjoying this," he said of the Raptors' championship parade, per Harrison. "It's not time to stress, it's still time to have some fun. I've just been enjoying my experience."

The 27-year-old holds a $21.3 million player option for 2019-20.

When Leonard requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs last offseason, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Southern California native wanted to land with one of the Los Angeles clubs. While the Spurs sent him to Toronto, he has continued to be heavily linked to the Clippers.

But the Raptors can't be ruled out.

Leonard had the best season of his career in his first year in Canada, averaging a career-high 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He elevated his game even further during the postseason, recording 30.5 points per contest while leading the Raptors to their first championship.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported at the time of last year's trade that Leonard had "no interest" in playing in Toronto. On Monday, though, the two-time NBA Finals MVP revealed it worked out off the court as well as on.

"It was a good experience, experiencing Mother Nature, all four seasons," Leonard said, per Harrison. "Man, it was a great experience. Everybody off the court was great. The fans, just meeting people in Canada. It's been fun."

Speaking of the fans, Raptors supporters urged Leonard to re-sign with the team, with the help of All-Star Kyle Lowry:

Toronto can offer Leonard more money than any other team: $190 million over five years. Opposing teams can only offer him four years and $141 million.

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