The crowds started forming after a Maple Leafs Sport and Entertainment (MLSE) corporate plane flying from Los Angeles landed in Toronto Wednesday afternoon. If he joins the Lakers, he will transform it into a super team.
According to reports, Leonard met with Raptors executives on Wednesday (July 3) to discuss re-signing with the champions.
The Raptors are the only top team courting Leonard that can sign him to a five-year, Klaw-sized US$190 million.
Regardless of what happens, Leonard will likely make his decision soon and two of the three teams will end up without his services.
Knicks owner James Dolan and Co. have made all sorts of poor decisions to put the franchise in this position, but they didn't need to compound them by chasing Leonard's ghost.
If you are the Toronto Raptors what do you use aside from the great city of Toronto, a championship and a positive team culture to make sure Kawhi Leonard stays in the North?
ESPN's Jalen Rose reported that Leonard's process was all but over, saying Wednesday that he was "99 percent hearing" Leonard would sign a deal with Toronto.
If the Lakers are successful in their pursuit of Leonard, they will instantly become the heavy favorites to win the 2020 NBA Finals. The team cleared cap space by trading Kristaps Porzingis, and also shedding the bad contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee.
The Knicks front office really is a joke. There might be more role players but the biggest stars available will be Kyle Lowry, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan and Gordon Hayward, if the latter three reject their player options. One superstar player makes all the difference in the National Basketball Association - which is why Los Angeles reacted the exact same way a year ago with LeBron James.
"Teams have simply been told this, 'If information on your presentation gets out, you're really imperiling your chance to sign Kawhi Leonard.' And so you understand why teams are keeping this so private".