This isn’t really news, but Adrian Wojnarowski went on Sports Center a couple hours ago and confirmed that the Clippers are still at the top of Kawhi Leonard’s list in free agency. He said “it’s been an uphill climb all year for Toronto” and they will still have to “fight” to get him to stay this summer. Per Woj, the Clippers remain at the top of Kawhi’s list, and they are still the only other team to even get mentioned besides the Raptors (though the Lakers, Knicks, and others will also make an attempt to nab him).
This is not all that surprising. The Clippers have been the rumored frontrunner for Kawhi since the early part of the season, and have never really flagged from that position, though the Raptors certainly made ground over the course of the playoffs and with their championship victory. Despite the legendary run the Raptors went on, Kawhi views Southern California as home, and that draw is a factor that Toronto just doesn’t have. The Clippers also have a team ready-made for Kawhi to step into and turn into a contender, with young talent that can grow behind him and steady veterans to assist him in the short term.
The Clippers and Raptors have both done all that they can at this point. All that’s left is for each team to make their final pitch once free agency begins (the Raptors have the advantage in that they can talk to him before that), and for Kawhi and his family and extended team to make a decision. Hopefully the Clippers get their man.
Here's Woj on Sportscenter a day after the Raptors won the title, saying Kawhi Leonard will decline his team option and saying the Raptors have been in an uphill battle with Kawhi all year long and still have a alot of work to do in keeping Kawhi away from the LA Clippers. pic.twitter.com/4yyA8BGyHK— In The Know (@In_the_know__) June 14, 2019