NBA free agency opened on Sunday, and it was bananas.
Kevin Durant (4 years, $164M) and Kyrie Irving (4 years, $142M) both signed with the Brooklyn Nets. Jimmy Butler (4 years, $142M) now plays for the Miami Heat. Kemba Walker (4 years, $141M) now plays for the Boston Celtics, while D’Angelo Russell (4 years, $117M) ended up in Golden State, and Al Horford (4 years, $109M) in Philadelphia.
Add it all up, and NBA teams spent about $3 billion in free agency in one day.
But through it all, we’re still waiting for Kawhi Leonard’s highly anticipated decision.
After the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers dominated the speculation leading up to free agency, the LA Lakers emerged as a frontrunner for some. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that while Kawhi will meet (or has met) with the Lakers and Clippers, the Raptors will get to make the final pitch to keep their superstar in Toronto.
Free agent Kawhi Leonard is expected to allow the Toronto Raptors to make the final meeting presentation among the teams visiting with him in Los Angeles next week, league sources tell ESPN. The incumbent often prefers to go last in trying to convince a player to stay with team.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2019
Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard had Kawhi going to the Clippers or Lakers on Saturday…
Hearing Raptors chances of keeping Kawhi are fading. A return to SoCal – either team – getting more and more likely.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2019
…and narrowed it down to the Lakers by Sunday…
Kawhi is “Lakers to lose,” I’m told. Not done deal yet, but Lakers are his top choice.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 30, 2019
The Lakers, of course, picked up LeBron James last summer and recently added Anthony Davis. Getting Kawhi too would make them the NBA’s new ‘super team.’
Ex-NBA player Kendrick Perkins is also optimistic that Kawhi will end up as a Laker:
Just heard that Kawhi is meeting with the Clippers tonight but the Lakers hold the upper hand, unless Doc work his Magic tonight it’s looking very strong that Kawhi will be in Purple and Gold!!!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) July 2, 2019
But not everyone sees Kawhi going home to SoCal.
A number of insiders have poured cold water on the Kawhi rumours on Tuesday. That doesn’t mean he’s staying with the Raptors – it just means that nobody knows anything yet.
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“There is no doubt that there is growing optimism within the Lakers that they’re going to pull this off,” said ESPN’s Brian Windhorst concerning the Kawhi to the Lakers rumours. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s real. So in this particular free agent story, I’m just preaching caution.”
FS1’s Cris Carter says Kawhi hasn’t made up his mind yet, and any reports of him being a lock for the Lakers are false.
Kawhi update: I’ve just been informed Kawhi has not made a decision. To think the Lakers are ahead of the Clippers or the Raptors would be wrong #KawhiUpdate
— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) July 2, 2019
For the last word, we turn to Wojnarowski, the most trusted insider in basketball.
“His plan all along was to allow Toronto to go last. They would get the final word with Kawhi Leonard as a courtesy to them,” Wojnarowski said.
“I’m told he very much has a willingness to play it out this week, take time to think, and that there’s a possibility that there may not be a decision until later in the week.”
Hold tight, Raptors fans. It looks like you may have a few more days left sitting on the edge of your seat.