Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard could be one of the most sought-after free agents in 2019, should he decide not to re-sign with the team that traded for him in a summer blockbuster.
Leonard has been heavily linked to the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers in free agency. It's widely believed that Leonard has a desire to play for one of his two hometown teams, though the Clippers have been considered the favorite for his services.
Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant can also test free agency this offseason. He too has been linked to teaming up with LeBron James in Laker Land. The reigning NBA Finals MVP talked to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, and explained why he doesn't think Leonard will be teaming up with James in Los Angeles.
"If you're a younger player like a Kawhi, trying to pair him with LeBron James doesn't really make sense," Durant said. "Kawhi enjoys having the ball in his hands, controlling the offense, dictating the tempo with his post-ups; it's how he plays the game. A lot of young players are developing that skill. They don't need another guy."
Multiple reports have suggested that Leonard doesn't want to play alongside James anyway, so the Lakers will have to target other superstars via trade or free agency this offseason.
Leonard - the two-time Defensive Player of the Year - is flourishing as the No. 1 guy in Toronto right now. As Durant points out, it'd be extremely difficult for these two stars - with completely different styles of play - to mesh well together.
The Raptors are giving Leonard a good case for sticking in Toronto. He's the best player on the top team in the Eastern Conference right now. Leonard fits Nick Nurse's offense perfectly, so does he really want to risk joining a team that might not fit his skill set entirely?
What This Means
Durant simply explains the reason why Kawhi wouldn't want to team up with James in Laker Land. Right now, the Raptors and Clippers appear to be the favorites for his services in the offseason. There will be other talents for the Lakers to target; it's been reported that Anthony Davis is interested in teaming up with James.