Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Entertaiment | By Kelly Sanders

Kawhi Leonard has been 'clear' that he plans to be a Laker

Kawhi Leonard has been 'clear' that he plans to be a Laker

According to Haynes, sources close to DeRozan have said that the Raptors brass met with their all-star guard in Las Vegas during Summer League and was told he would not be dealt. "Kawhi obviously worked very hard to become the player he is". They don't know. And considering that Kawhi Leonard shares his feelings with nearly no one for public consumption, maybe he doesn't know what the future holds, now and going forward.

"Ain't no loyalty in this game", DeRozan wrote in an Instagram story that appeared in the wee hours of Wednesday, around the time that ESPN and Yahoo Sports reported that the trade was approaching the imminent stage. Although the Clippers are not in the same contending status as the Lakers, Leonard would have gotten his wish to go to LA and could have battled LeBron James after the Clippers extended him to the supermax. DeRozan was the long-term piece and if he was still in the equation then maybe the Raptors would have a good pitch. "You are a fixture in Toronto forever and you gave everything you had".

The Raptors actually saw their odds start to improve once they started being mentioned in the Leonard sweepstakes, as they were as high as 60/1 on July 2.

Leonard, 27, has made no secret of his desire to play in Los Angeles, which has a slightly different November climate than Toronto.

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At 3:18 AM ET on Wednesday morning, Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania reported that a big-time blockbuster National Basketball Association trade is in the works. Without a physical, it's tough to gauge whether Leonard is healthy enough to play now, or if he's over the issue that cost him 73 games last season. DeRozan also has expressed displeasure toward a possible move, becoming aware of the possibility late Tuesday night, league sources said.

The Raptors will have this season to win Leonard over and get him to re-sign - just as Oklahoma City did with Paul George. "It's a gamble, but Toronto is probably at the point where, 'We've probably only got one more run with this team anyhow so let's mix it up.' And if they have to rebuild or retool, they could do it without the [$83] million they owe DeRozan". The Philadelphia 76ers were reportedly unwilling to include Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid or Markelle Fultz in a deal for Leonard, instead offering up their own collection of draft picks. Despite a players-only meeting where he was asked by teammates to return to the lineup, he sat out the rest of the season.

"About two weeks ago, I sent him a picture when he was younger and he's dunking over somebody and his hair is all over, and it was kind of a hint like you know, you can keep doing this", Popovich said.

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