In a headline that is borderline laughable, Kawhi announced that he already has two favorites heading into free agency. With many reports coming out that the Knicks (in light of KD’s injury) and Lakers (in light of them being stupid) would be making “aggressive plays towards signing Kawhi”, it is beneficial to know who the robot is considering playing for next year.
Unsurprisingly, he already has his favorites, and they are just as predictable as expected. The Clippers and Raptors are expected to receive a lion’s share of the meetings, and he has gone as far as to demonstrate as much. Sure, he is still in full victory parade mode right now, but the news circling Kawhi has been the same since the offseason. The Clippers are the favorites to land him, and they still apparently are. Sources are adamant that the Clippers reside at the top of the list, and certainly are the most enticing place for him to go. A plethora of young assets, a good defense, a good offense, and the potential for another All-Star to join him? Even without clearing cap space for that, there is a ton of room and potential for the Clippers.
Those reasons are primarily why the Raptors are behind them in Kawhi’s rankings. Yes, they just won the championship. Yes, they also are in a weaker conference. However, it was a primarily vet team that had the young players play the best. Kawhi, Van Fleet, and Siakim were the three best players on that roster, but who is fourth? Ibaka? Gasol? Powell? Dare I even say…Kyle Lowry?! The fact Masai Ujiri created this team and may leave for the Wizards is also concerning. Of course you listen to the $10 million a year offer with ownership stake that the Wiz are offering, but the fact it seems like the Raptors aren’t actively trying to push a counter-narrative out on the offer they are making to keep Masai?
Not as troubling as this situation is to the other teams interested in Kawhi, especially the Lakers. Kawhi’s camp has said he may not even accept a meeting with the Lakers, which sounds suspiciously a lot like the whole Paul George saga before he opted into staying at OKC. Reports came out almost immediately that the Lakers “are more focused on adding additional pieces instead of a third star”, undoubtedly meaning that they are trying to change the narrative. It is a tough task to do, especially since they are trying to change it from “Kawhi and every All-Star snubbed them” to “we are building around Bron and AD”. It is especially a tough one to sell in light of how disastrous they have been since LeBron joining the team. Going 1/7 in signings last FA, having an abysmal season, having the front office drama, and having every FA say “nah” to them is just the tip of the iceberg.
God I would not want to be in Marketing or PR for the Lakers right now. Much rather be with the Clippers and have the possibility of being the best team post FA after signing Kawhi.
Oops, guess I let that scoop slip. Oh well, put money on that exotic bet ladies and gents.