TooAthletic Takes

Does Kawhi Leonard’s free agency decision decide the fate of the NBA?  Sounds ridiculous, right?  Let’s take a look at the possibility though while we wait for the long-anticipated decision from the man himself.  We have a worst-case scenario, a best-case scenario, and a wild card scenario. 

Best-case scenario?  He resigns with the Toronto Raptors and tries to defend his newly won championship.  The Raptors have kept most of their core and with the return of Kawhi, they would most certainly be the favorites to win the title next season.  Obviously, Toronto would also want to bring Danny Green back, which I think would be a lot easier to do with the return of Kawhi.  The new-look 76ers will obviously be the wildcard of the East and may have done just enough to be a true competitor against Toronto, or maybe their experiment will be a complete failure, and they will be worse than last season (they did lose Jimmy Butler after all.)  The Bucks also have most of their team back, but Toronto proved that Giannis is going to have to evolve his game more in order to handle the Raptors if Kawhi Leonard is leading the pack. 

So, let’s talk about the worst-case scenario.  You already know what it is, it’s signing with the LA Lakers.  I don’t know about you, but my interest in the NBA will decrease drastically if three of the top five players in the league play on the same team.  Yes, they will still be thin on the bench and who knows who will be playing point guard for them, but will it matter?  There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with GM LeBron failing to get exactly what he wants and now that “6” LeBron will be back it will be fun to root against them, but dealing with a whole new level of Lakers bandwagon fans just doesn’t seem like something I’m interested in dealing with. 

Then there’s the wild card, the LA Clippers.  Rumors and reports have come out saying that the Clippers are no longer in the race, but let’s be honest here, nobody knows the truth except Kawhi Leonard and whoever Kawhi Leonard wants to know.  The Clippers are the only team on this list that would not be the favorite to win the championship with the addition of Kawhi.  They need more than just Kawhi to convince anyone that they are day 1 ready for a championship run next season.  The good news for the Clippers is, they did keep Pat Beverley, even after the Kings offered him a massive contract.  So, the defense would be insane with Kawhi, but I’m not sure they would have the firepower to do so.  How ironic it would be for the best-case scenario in the biggest free agency ever to be that the biggest name doesn’t change teams. 

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