Lakers Free Agency Rumors: Kawhi Leonard Declines Player Option, But ‘Seriously Considering’ Re-Signing With Raptors
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

With one week until free agency officially begins on June 30, the Los Angeles Lakers and all 30 teams are looking to improve their rosters for the 2019-20 NBA season.

As there is uncertainty surrounding the Golden State Warriors due to injuries, the landscape of the league is seemingly changing for the first time in five seasons.

As a result, the Lakers traded their entire young core except for Kyle Kuzma and draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis that will likely be completed on July 6.

Although the Lakers are still interested in Kawhi Leonard, he reportedly is ‘seriously considering’ re-signing with the Toronto Raptors, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Leonard, 27, is believed to be seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors, sources said.

With Leonard set to decline his $21.3 million player option for the 2019-20 NBA season, rival teams still believe the Raptors are the favorites to sign him heading into June 30:

The appeal of returning home to Southern California is enticing to the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but with the trust the Raptors built while Leonard led the franchise to its first NBA title by upsetting the Golden State Warriors, rival executives view his current team as the favorite to land him when the free-agent negotiating period begins June 30, sources said.

After the Raptors defeated the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, it is understandable why Leonard would re-sign. Outside of Marc Gasol (player option) and Danny Green, their core is still under contract for at least one more year.

However, through all of the conflicting reports, the one constant has been Leonard’s desire to play in Los Angeles.

As for the Lakers, it is currently unclear how much cap space they will have after the Davis trade. Ranging from $23.7-$32.5 million, they may not even have a max-contract slot available to offer Leonard or a third All-Star player.