Okay, so, Kawhi Leonard clearly doesn’t want to play for the Raptors.
He likes the warm weather, he misses his home and, frankly, Toronto isn’t really the place superstars go to make a name for themselves. Naturally, when the Spurs sent him packing to the Raptors yesterday, many were questioning whether or not he’d actually play for the team, seeing as how adamant he was about not playing for the Spurs.
As time progressed, that theory was quickly thrown aside, as certain CBA rules could prevent Kawhi from becoming a free-agent in 2019 if he sits out next year. While the newly traded star can technically fake an inury, he’d be hard-pressed to find any team willing to pay max money for him without seeing him healthy, not to mention how much it would dent his reputation. Seemingly, Leonard has no choice but to suit up with the Raptors for at least a season… or does he?
One Reddit user by the name of “The Thunderbird,” recently shared an insane idea that could force Kahwi out of Canada without risking his free-agency status in 2019. Here’s the post:
Kawhi clearly doesn’t want to play in Toronto. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Toronto is in Canada. Of course, if Kawhi really doesn’t want to play this year in Toronto, he could just get “injured” and sit another year out, hoping that LA is still willing to pay a player who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants. But what if I told you there was a way Kawhi could both not play in Toronto this year AND sign and play most of the season for LA…
Kawhi’s uncle should convince Kawhi to cross into Canada illegally and claim asylum.
Kawhi will be arrested. His refugee claim will be evaluated and quickly denied. He will not be charged, but will be sent back to the US and banned from re-entering the country or obtaining a visa.
Wont he go to prison for that?
No. Canada is not the US and is not big on discouraging people fleeing horrifying conditions from searching for a better life in Canada. That doesn’t mean they won’t say “No” if your case is BS, though.
Why not just commit a felony (like a DUI) in the US?
Felonies that carry less than a 5 year prison sentence do not make you ineligible to enter Canada. Kawhi would probably rather spend 1 year in Toronto than 5 years in prison. Plus, you can be granted a waiver to enter Canada, which is how other convicted felons are able to play in Canada.
What happens next?
Kawhi will either try to enter Canada to report to Toronto and be denied OR the will be accepted. If he is allowed in, he simply has to leave and re-enter illegally again and apply for asylum again. Applying for asylum alone might do it. Canadians are nice, but it’s more of a fool-me-once scenario.
At this point, the Raptors will be faced with either having Kawhi only available for away games or severing his contract due to his conduct. Now, if they sever his contract, I’m not sure whether they retain his rights or not but they certainly won’t be interested in re-signing him. After some period of no contract being tendered, I assume he becomes a free agent and can sign with LA.
Kawhi can’t re-enter Canada. As long as Toronto doesn’t make the Finals (which they won’t without him) this doesn’t seem to be a huge issue.
Adam Silver won’t like it. This is a bigger issue but NBA players have done worse things that actually hurt people and they still have jobs.
His bargaining position with LA is seriously affected if they know he’s willing to break the law to play for them. Then again, if I’m Magic I may admire the dedication.
If Kawhi is willing to literally break the law to get himself to L.A., then he has got some serious dedication.
Obviously, the chances of him actually doing this are slim. But hey, crazier things have happened… right?