2019 Free Agency
2019 Free Agency

Report: Kawhi Leonard to decline 2019-20 option with Raptors

Toronto reportedly seen as favorite to keep free-agent forward

From NBA Twitter and media reports

Jun 24, 2019 7:24 AM ET

Kawhi Leonard is in line for a max contract after his lone season in Toronto, which culminated with the Raptors' first NBA championship.

Kawhi Leonard will decline his 2019-20 player option with the Toronto Raptors and become an unrestricted free agent, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

However, Haynes also reports Leonard is “seriously considering” re-signing with Toronto despite widespread interest from elsewhere. The Raptors are the only team who can offer Leonard a five year, $190 million supermax contract.

Teammate Kyle Lowry led a "five more years" chant at the team's championship parade last week, though Leonard has remained quiet about his future. A native of southern California, Leonard is expected to garner interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers this summer. However, Haynes reports that while the appeal of returning home entices Leonard, the Raptors' run to the NBA title has rival executives viewing Toronto as the favorites to land him this summer, Haynes reports.

Over the weekend, two "King of SoCal" billboards went up in Los Angeles over Interstate 5 in Downey -- which is about 10 miles southeast of the Staples Center (where the Clippers and Lakers play home games).

One of the billboards bears the image of a personalized California license plate reading "Kawhi," with the hashtag #ClipperNation. The other billboard reads "King of SoCal" with the hashtag #KAWHI2LAC.

Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in the regular season and led Toronto to its first NBA title, adding another Finals MVP trophy to his resume.

The NBA’s free-agent negotiating period begins June 30 at 6 p.m. ET.


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