Speaking to TSN Sportsnet today, NBA insider Windhorst doubled down on earlier suggestions that the Raptors are in the driving seat in the chase for Leonard’s signature by claiming the Raptors had tabled a “compelling” offer for the 27-year-old superstar.
Spurs general manager RC Buford is believed to be demanding a high price to even entertain the notion of allowing the two-time Defensive Player of the Year to walk away this summer.
Early reports linking Leonard to the Lakers had quoted a package of future draft picks as well as the inclusion of one or more of the team’s younger core – Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma or Lonzo Ball – in order to make the deal happen.
A similar negotiation with the Raptors might, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested this week, include “[Demar] DeRozan, [Pascal] Siakam and at least one first-round pick”.
Teams trading for Leonard this summer will have to contend with the idea that the 2014 Finals MVP could walk away for nothing in 2019 if he opts to test free agency.
Given the Spurs’ trade demands for Leonard this year, the Lakers appear to have cooled on the idea and remain convinced they can land their top target during next summer.
After news of the Raptors’ offer broke online, NBA fans flocked to social media site Reddit to share their thoughts on the potential deal.
“If we give DeMar/OG [Anunoby]/draft picks for 10 months of Kawhi I’m gonna lose it,” wrote one Raptors fan.
Another said: “Lol, they’re really going to blow up their team for one year of Kawhi.”
“No idea how long this is going to drag out, but I don’t see how Spurs can turn down anything close to compelling,” added a third.
“It’s clear they have no leverage. They need to take what they can get.”
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