Kawhi Leonard is amongst the stockpile of names available in this summer’s star-studded free agency. His first season in Toronto is coming to an end, which means it is nearly time for him to make a decision.
He will choose between a multi-year commitment to the Raptors or a first-class ticket to L.A. How that decision will turn out is still a matter for debate.
No doubt, the Clippers are exploring all options as they prepare to engage their assault on Leonard this July. Signing him is, of course, the key to everything. But if they play their cards right, they might have room for more.
As pointed out by Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, a sign and trade between the Clippers and Raptors could be one way to maximize the opportunity for all sides involved.
“The Raptors’ willingness to sign and trade Leonard is up in the air, but the parameters of this deal fit their future. They needn’t start over if he leaves. They’ll still have Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol (assuming he exercises his $25.6 million player option), and Pascal Siakam is that good. Like Lowry and Gasol, Gallinari comes off the ledger next summer. The Raptors can try running it back with the three of them and Siakam, then re-assess the big picture during the 2020 offseason.”
For the Clippers, getting out of Gallinari’s contract opens up space to pair Leonard with another superstar this summer, increasing the likelihood of their success in 2019/2020.
The Raptors, meanwhile, would not have to lose Kawhi for nothing. It is a win-win for both sides.
It is all contingent on where Leonard actually decides to go. If the rumors about him eye-balling the Clippers are true, then Doc Rivers and those folks in Staples better be prepared for a wild ride.