A majority of people seem to believe the Toronto Raptors have an extremely slim chance of keeping Kawhi Leonard beyond this season. Count Danny Green among the exceptions.
Talking on the latest episode of his Inside the Green Room podcast, Green intimated that his teammate of the past seven years will probably have a tough time leaving the city of Toronto (via Sportsnet’s Steven Loung):
“I don’t know where his mind is at for the future. I can’t predict or tell you. I can just tell you that the city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there,” said Green. “I’ve been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It’s a great city and the fans are amazing. … I’m getting a great amount of feedback, a great amount of love and all types of different stuff from the fans. So it’s gonna be tough for him to turn down.”
Two things. First, what else is Green supposed to say? He’s a member of the Raptors, too. He’s also slated for free agency next summer. He’s not about to rain all over Toronto’s parade when he both plays for the city and could be looking to get paid by it in less than one year’s time.
With all that said, Green isn’t exactly talking out of his ass. Toronto is a fantastic city, and a wonderful basketball town. Leonard very well could fall in love. It helps, too, that the Raptors profile as one of the East’s primary threats to reach the NBA Finals. If they flirt with coming out of the conference—or actually do so—he could be swayed by their comfy setup, along with the fifth year and higher annual raises they can offer.
If you want to outfit Leonard in a Los Angeles Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers uniform, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t count out the Raptors. They have a chance.