Last week, the Raptors emerged out of nowhere as the odds-on favorites in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes. Leonard has previously been linked to the Lakers and 76ers, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes both teams have “given up” on trading for the superstar and that the Raptors are now in the”driver’s seat” (1:03:19 on The Lowe Post):
"“I think they’re [Raptors] in the driver’s seat for Kawhi because I think the Lakers have given up, the Sixers have given up. And with the Nets, Bulls and Hawks spending their cap space, it makes it harder to assemble a multi-team trade. I think the Raptors are in the driver’s seat.”"
Waiting for Leonard in free agency is a dangerous game for the Lakers as seen just a few weeks ago with Paul George. Leonard, the third best player in the NBA, would instantly change life for the Lakes and may even bolster them into Western Conference Finals.
From the Raptors side of things, they would likely just be renting Leonard unless they can make an overwhelming impression on him.
Even if they only get him for a year, they are going nowhere with their current roster and with Leonard, Boston coming out of the East is much less of a sure thing.