The Toronto Raptors made the massive move last month to acquire All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard in a blockbuster trade that sent All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs.
It is a major risk that the franchise has taken without the full assurance that Leonard will commit to staying in Toronto beyond the 2018-19 campaign. According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, Leonard is still expected to make the move his hometown next summer to join either the Los Angeles Lakers or L.A. Clippers.
Most around the league still expect that Leonard will look to return home to Southern California, either to join LeBron James with the Lakers or bring his star power to the Clippers.
Since the trade rumors first surfaced surrounding Leonard when he was with the Spurs, both Los Angeles teams had been outlined as the preferred landing spot for him. The Lakers have been believed to be the more ideal choice of the two, but the two-time Defensive Player of the Year has reportedly been open to signing with the Clippers as well.
However, the Raptors may hold the upper hand with the situation having him in the fold this upcoming season where they can make a strong impression for the 27-year-old to stay. The hope is that they can mirror what the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to accomplish with All-Star forward Paul George despite the notion that he long wanted to join the Lakers.
It is something that only time will tell whether Toronto can persuade Leonard to re-sign next summer because if not both the Lakers and Clippers will both be in the picture as serious suitors as potential landing spots.