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Will he stay or will he go?
It’s the question Toronto Raptors fans have been wondering ever since Kawhi Leonard was acquired last offseason in a blockbuster trade.
A free agent at season’s end, the Los Angeles native has long been thought to have an eye on returning to Southern California. Those rumours only intensified in January when Kawhi bought a $13.3 million mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, south of LA.
As the Raptors compete in their first-ever NBA Finals, it’s still the elephant in the room. The team has done as well as anyone could have imagined, and Kawhi has been the best player in the NBA playoffs.
But ultimately, it’s up to Kawhi.
On Monday, we got a glimmer of hope from TSN 1050 radio host Michael Landsberg.
“We have heard he has purchased a property in Toronto,” said Landsberg during an interview with Truehoop analyst David Thorpe. “We’ve heard this now from two different sources, indicating there’s something there.”
If true, that’s obviously a major indication that Kawhi will stay in Toronto.
“Everyone that I’ve talked to that knows [Kawhi] and is connected to that group, they all agree to the idea that the Raptors have done what they needed to do (to re-sign Leonard),” Thorpe said. “That doesn’t mean he can’t change his mind, of course he can, but as it stands today it’s hard to imagine that he would go somewhere else.
“Now he’s not going to sign a long-term deal (with the Raptors), I wouldn’t think. He doesn’t have to. But it’s fair to guess he’s going to give at least a year or two more to Toronto to continue that relationship and see where it goes.”
There will be no shortage of teams lining up to sign Kawhi in free agency this summer, including the Los Angeles Clippers, whose head coach was fined $50,000 last week for tampering.
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