Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard declined to comment about his potential impending free agency after leading his team to its first-ever championship.
“I’m about to enjoy this with my teammates and coaches, and I’ll think about that later,” Leonard said following a 114-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Thursday.
Leonard later told Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter that he did not have atimeframeas to when he would make a decision on free agency, saying he was just going to take things “day by day” (around the six-minute mark):
Free agency has been looming over Leonard ever since he was traded to Toronto last offseason. He has a $21.3 million player option for the 2019-20 season.
As he attempted to force his way out of San Antonio, ESPN’s AdrianWojnarowskireported the California native was looking to land in Los Angeles, with either the Clippers or Lakers. Instead, the Spurs shipped him to the Raptors, a team SeanDeveney of Sporting News reported last July he had “no interest” in playing for.
However, Leonard made the most of the situation by leading the Raptors to their first NBA title in their 24-year history. He captured his second career Finals MVP in the process, becoming the first player to ever win the award in both conferences.
When asked recently if he had purchased property in Toronto, Leonard raised some eyebrows by saying it “didn’t happen yet”:
Of course, Leonard may never need to actually purchase property in the city. He has already been offered a free condo if he re-signs.
It’s not clear what the 27-year-old will prioritize in free agency. He already passed up the opportunity to sign a five-year, $221 millionsupermaxextension by leaving San Antonio. Toronto can offer him a five-year, $190 million contract this summer, while the rest of the league can only offer him four years and $141 million.
The Raptors knew the risk when they acquired Leonard, but after he helped hang a banner, there will be no regrets about the deal, regardless of his decision.