Title: Loss of Kawhi Leonard sets Raptors on new path. What comes next for them?
Date: July 5, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Kawhi Leonard leaving the Raptors and what comes next.
The Toronto Raptors did everything they could over the course of a year. Ultimately, it was not enough.
Kawhi Leonard is no longer a Raptor. Instead, he becomes the incredibly rare NBA Finals MVP to jump ship instead of defending the crown, opting to sign a four-year, $142 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. The deal was first reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. In the aftermath, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed that Paul George would be joining Leonard in L.A. with a massive haul of trade assets going to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This is a seismic, NBA-landscape shifting move. Leonard was rumoured for some time to prefer the Clippers and particularly Los Angeles, but their inability to land a second star in free agency confused the likelihood. The delay in announcement, it turns out, had nothing to do with flight paths or parties with Drake but with giving the Clippers runway to land a second star. George is decidedly that, giving the Clippers a pair of two-way dynamos and MVP candidates to build with from here, in an arena opposite LeBron James and Anthony Davis.