What Now for the Raptors and Clippers Bound Kawhi Leonard?
When 28-year-old NBA star Kawhi Leonard decided to leave the Toronto Raptors earlier this month it was arguably the biggest of the 2019 free agency and one that has left many wondering how both the player and his former team will fare next season.
Leonard played an integral part in helping the Raptors to their first NBA title, in his first season since moving to the Canadian franchise from San Antonio, and picked up his second NBA MVP award in the process.
The Los Angeles born San Diego graduate has put pen to paper on a deal worth an astonishing $142m over four years and it’s a move that has left the Clippers` fans smiling from ear to ear, none more so perhaps than super-fan Billy Crystal whose head was apparently left spinning following the reported move
Now the Raptors must regroup and rebuild as they look to repeat their unlikely success of 2019 and one wonders just how long it will be before Torontonians can taste such a feat again but if you want to put a buck or two on this then it would be wise to use a Bet365 bonus code
to do so.
Though Leonard’s time at the Scotiabank Arena was all to brief it’s clear he will be missed and as much as the team’s fans will bask in the triumph over the Golden State Warriors last month, one wonders if they will boo Kawhai on his return in L.A Clippers colours.
Leonard achievements in 2019 were frightening to behold, here are just three.
He was just the third player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with multiple teams, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and LeBron James being the only others to do so.
Leonard became the first player in NBA history to score a buzzer beater in a game seven, this coming in Toronto’s exciting Eastern Conference semi-final win over Philadelphia.
His playoff average point score, 30.5, is the highest since 2000.
Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri has
taken the departure
surprisingly well, looking to take the positives from the situation by stating “Honestly, I’ve lost no sleep. I’m not disappointed. It’s on to what’s next. I’m telling Raptors fans, don’t lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep. We’re going to be just fine. We’re going to be alright.”
Toronto have brought in quality additions to help ease the pain of Leonard’s departure with eighth overall draft pick Stanley Johnson, solid shooter Matt Thomas (coming in from European side Valencia) and guard Terence Davis.
The capture of Leonard has led to the L.A Clipper being one of the big favourites to lift the NBA crown with William Hill offering strong odds on the Californian outfit.
The Clippers are currently taking part in the Las Vegas Summer League and good odds
on Betfair can be found.
It was perhaps an exit that many had expected, after all Leonard was only at the Toronto Raptors’ on a one year deal, though clearly most had not expected that the year with the team would prove quite so fruitful.
Those are sentiments somewhat echoed by Raptors’ coach Nick Nurse, who opined straightforwardly on the move, saying "I think you can`t blame a guy for wanting to go home".
Kawhai turned down a new deal from Toronto, as well as an approach from the L.A Lakers, electing to move to the Staples Center instead.