When Kawhi Leonard requested a trade from the Spurs a year ago, it was made well-known by his camp that Los Angeles or New York were his preferred destinations.
Instead, he was sent to Toronto in a blockbuster deal that, as we know now, shifted the balance of power in the suddenly LeBron-less conference north of the border. The Raptors are headed to the NBA Finals to face off with the Warriors, making their first appearance in the championship series in franchise history, and many wonder if the run has done enough to make Leonard want to be a Raptor long-term.
Leonard’s free agency has hung over everything the Raptors have done this season, but it’s been clear it hasn’t effected his play in the slightest, whether he wants to stay or not. What he’s done in these playoffs has been nothing short of heroic, and whether he stays or goes, this season will live forever in Toronto sports lore. Still, Raptors fans want him to be in Toronto for the long haul and his initial trepidation about the trade will always lurk in the back of everyone’s minds as he enters free agency.