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Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard could become a free agent after the 2018-19 season, and the Los Angeles Clippers appear to be the favorites to land the talented player, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The team will have cap space available for two max contracts next season, and it is “emerging as a front-runner” for Leonard.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler could be the other max player, with Wojnarowski also reporting the guard wants to potentially pursue a future with the Clippers. He reportedly put in a trade request Wednesday and hopes to land with the Clippers, Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks.
Meanwhile, Leonard was already traded this offseason to the Raptors in a deal that sent DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs.
Leonard has a player option after this season worth $21 million, although he can decline it in order to get a larger deal in free agency. There have long been rumors about the two-time All-Star heading west after the season, but that is apparently not a done deal.
“I think he still feels like L.A. might be the destination,” Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News said in August on TSN (h/t Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports). “But the same time, he plans to go into this thing with an open mind, giving it every single shot in the world to make it work.”
It seems we won’t know for sure where Leonard will end up until after we see how the experiment in Toronto plays out, but it will be worth watching to see if the Clippers can land the forward in 2019-20.