Kawhi Leonard Rumors: Star 'Seriously Considering' Lakers; Clippers Concerned

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 28, 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

Free-agent forward Kawhi Leonard has long been rumored to return to the Toronto Raptors or head to the Los Angeles Clippers, but ESPN's Stephen A. Smith threw a wrench in those reports when he said on Get Up! the 2019 Finals MVP is "seriously considering" the Los Angeles Lakers and that the Clips are "concerned" about the development:

Get Up @GetUpESPN

"I have received the word that Kawhi Leonard is seriously considering the Los Angeles Lakers." —@stephenasmith https://t.co/dyfeOct6md

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported it is a "two-team race" between Toronto and the Clippers (2:07 mark), with the Lakers further back in the picture.

Leonard is granting meetings with both L.A. teams, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The Raps will get the last talk.

The Lakers seem like an odd fit for a player who just won an NBA title as the clear No. 1 option on his team. In Los Angeles, Leonard wouldn't be leading the charge as the team's franchise star with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the mix.

On the flip side, a James-Leonard-Davis combination means that 29 other teams are likely playing for second in the foreseeable future, barring injury. The Lakers' fourth-best player, Kyle Kuzma, also dropped 18.7 points per game in his second pro season last year.

The Clippers make the most sense for an L.A. team: He'll be the No. 1 player on a 48-34 team that just gave the Warriors a strong first-round test sans an established superstar. With Leonard on board, the Clips may have as good a chance as anyone to win the title.

Of course, Leonard can re-sign with Toronto, where he's beloved after giving the city its first NBA title and only its second championship in an American professional sports league since 1993.

Free agency begins Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.