It’s the end of August, which means that every scrap of news or rumor about the NBA prompts thinkpieces and hour-long podcasts. Today, one such rumor surfaced during Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast with Ryen Russillo on ESPN. This time, it was around the most popular name of this summer (and probably next), Kawhi Leonard.
In essence, Woj said that Los Angeles is still an attractive destination for Kawhi, both the Lakers and Clippers remain strong options, and they will present different cases to draw him in free agency. None of this is news. Nor is it surprising.
Nothing has changed the NBA landscape since Kawhi was traded to the Toronto Raptors in July. Kawhi has talked with the Raptors, and all indications are that he’s going to report to their training camp and then play for them to the best of his ability in the 2018-2019 season. No report has come out from Kawhi or his agent about his preferences or lack thereof, which means the situation stands as it was a month ago: Kawhi would prefer to go to Los Angeles next summer, but there is no evidence to suggest it’s going to happen any time soon.
Therefore, the only update here is the lack any true update. Rumors such as these will probably pop up every few weeks during the NBA season, possibly more frequently, and until anything noteworthy happens to change any of the relevant situations, the content of the rumors probably won’t change either.
There are two real possibilities that could change matters before next summer. The first is that the Raptors turn into a monstrous world-beater, Kawhi falls in love with (or at least accepts Toronto), and the likelihood of him leaving begins to decline (see George, Paul). The second is virtually the opposite. The Raptors don’t come together as expected, or the Lakers/Clippers become significantly more attractive someway, or neither, but Kawhi makes it clear that he’s going to Los Angeles one way or another next summer anyway. If any of those events occur, the Raptors trading Kawhi away before the deadline becomes more likely.
Until any of this happens (improbable before December at earliest), the rumors surrounding Kawhi coming to the Clippers will be just that. Rumors. And they will probably sound a lot like what Woj just said on his podcast. Therefore, while any news about Kawhi must be at least paid attention to, don’t take any large conclusions away. Not yet.