Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics, Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat and Klay Thompson returning to the Golden State Warriors. These are just a few of the big moves that have been made since the start of free agency. The biggest question left for this free agency period is what team will reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard end up signing with. According to reports, there are three teams in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes: the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers and re-signing with the Toronto Raptors. Wherever Kawhi ends up signing, that team will certainly be a contender for a berth in the NBA Finals and possibly winning it all. Here I will be making a case for where, out of those three teams, Kawhi should want to continue his basketball career.
Los Angeles Lakers
All I have to say is Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard and that should be enough of a reason for Kawhi to sign with the Lakers. That would easily be the best trio in the NBA today and one of the most talented trios in NBA history. This could possibly be the most dominant defensive teams the NBA has seen since the ’04 Detroit Pistons. This could be the most dominant championship team the NBA has seen since the 72-10 Chicago Bulls in 1996. If Kawhi joins the Lakers, they would be in a league of their own and barring injury would be the clear favorite for the NBA championship. That is not to say there will be no growing pains, but when they get their groove they could be unstoppable.
Los Angeles Clippers
If Kawhi wants to make history, his best bet is to join the Los Angeles Clippers. If Kawhi joins the Clippers and is able to make it to the NBA Finals next season, he would become just the first player in history to win Finals MVP and make back to the NBA Finals in consecutive seasons with a different team. If he won a championship with the Clippers next season, he would be the only player to be a member of a franchise’s first ever NBA championship roster in NBA history. If he won Finals MVP in said NBA Finals, then he would be the first player to ever win Finals MVP in back to back Finals with two different teams. Its safe to say Kawhi Leonard would have a chance to add to his already historic resume if he joins the Clippers. Not to mention he would be joining defensive juggernaut Patrick Beverley, dynamic sixth man Lou Williams and improved big man Montrezl Harrell.
Now to advocate for why Kawhi should re-sign with the Toronto Raptors. Kawhi has the chance to win back-to-back championships with the Raptors securing their second championship in franchise history. This would make the Raptors just the third team in NBA history to win their franchise’s first two championships in back-to-back seasons: Chicago Bulls (1991-1993); Detroit Pistons (1989 & 1990). In terms of chemistry, the Raptors make more sense than the Clippers and the Lakers. He would not have to worry about an adjustment period learning his teammates’ tendencies with the Raptors as most of the championship roster will be there next season. Not to mention him returning to the Raptors would make the Atlantic division even better than it already is. If he is looking for competition he will get it with the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic division.