In the great Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, the Toronto Raptors suffered defeat moments after completing the league’s greatest victory. The Raptors and their fans did not have much time to celebrate their first Championship in franchise history before learning they would lose their star (and their status as title contenders) to the Los Angeles Clippers.
But after giving up so much, and accomplishing such a rare feat, how did Toronto lose a race they seemed destined to win?
In an interesting revelation by Josh Lewenberg of TSN, it was ‘unreasonable’ requests by Leonard and his camp that wavered the Raptors’ confidence of keeping their franchise star.
That confidence began to waver after they met with Leonard and his uncle Dennis Robertson in Toronto last Wednesday, sources told TSN. That’s when they first questioned the intentions of Leonard’s camp.
Robertson has a reputation for being hard to deal with and would have been hands on throughout the process. According to sources, Leonard and his camp – namely Uncle Dennis – asked for a lot from the Raptors in that meeting, things players don’t generally ask for in standard contract negotiations.
In some cases, they were asking for things that Ujiri – one of the most well-compensated executives in the league – wouldn’t have even had at his disposal. Their requests were “unreasonable”, a source said, which made the Raptors wonder whether Leonard was seriously considering them at all.
What, exactly, those requests might have been are still a mystery to the public. But for the ask to be more than Masai Ujiri could deliver says something about what Kawhi and his camp were wanting from the Raptors.
Meanwhile, the 2x Finals MVP signed with the unproven Clippers after they managed to trade for an often injury-riddled Paul George.
Some questions certainly have to be asked here, but this report has made it quite clear that the Raptors’ chances of re-signing Kawhi were never very high to begin with.