NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard focused on Clippers, not Lakers, in free agency

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard focused on Clippers, not Lakers, in free agency

Kawhi Leonard will forever be a legend in Canada. He led the Raptors to their first title when they took down the Warriors in six games, and nobody can ever take that away from him.

But he could soon leave The North for the West Coast. 

Leonard, who was born in Los Angeles and played collegiately at San Diego State, might have his eyes set on returning home to L.A. when he becomes a free agent in less than two weeks. His preference, however, sounds like "the other L.A." team, not the one that just traded for Anthony Davis

"The reality is, Kawhi Leonard's focused on Los Angeles but it's the Clippers, not the Lakers," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Tuesday morning on "Get Up." 

Wojnarowski points out that the Lakers will not have the money to sign the superstar in free agency. After the Lakers acquired Davis from the Pelicans, there was speculation they would still have between $32 and $27 million left in salary cap space to sign a marquee player. But due to the timing of the trade and Davis' 15 percent trade kicker, the Lakers' cap space will likely be around $23 million. 

There's another point he makes regarding Leonard's preference of the Clippers over the Lakers, and it all starts with LeBron James. 

"The idea of him being a third wheel on a team that's trying to create a super-team, that has not been Kawhi's M.O. The Clippers are poised to be able to lure him from Toronto. This will be a Raptors-Clippers fight down to the end. ... It's not even certain he'd take a meeting with the Lakers right now," Wojnarowski said. 

This comes on the heels of The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reporting Sunday that league sources have told him the Lakers will pursue Leonard

[RELATED: Danny Green reveals what Dubs said after Klay's injury]

It makes sense that Leonard will choose the Clippers over the Lakers if he were to leave Toronto, despite the addition of Davis with LeBron. Kawhi just led a team to a championship that was built more on depth than stars, which is exactly how the Clippers are currently constructed. 

The Clippers pushed the Warriors to six games in the first round of the playoffs this year. While the Warriors will have to play on without the injured Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, adding Leonard to the Clippers could bring another banner to the Staples Center -- just not for the Lakers. 

Klay Thompson proclaims Warriors' championship dynasty 'far from over'


Klay Thompson proclaims Warriors' championship dynasty 'far from over'

All the national pundits and talking heads have danced on the grave of the Warriors' dynasty.

With Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston gone, and Klay Thompson out for a large portion of the upcoming season after ACL surgery, most believe the Warriors' reign of dominance is over.

But Thompson isn't listening to the noise. The Warriors might be down, but they aren't out.

"The dynasty ain't over," Klay said Friday during the second annual Thompson Family Foundation golf tournament in Newport Beach, Calif. "It's far from over."

After five season atop the NBA mountain, the Warriors no longer are the favorites to win the title, and they will look vastly different this season.

At the beginning of the season, Steph Curry and Draymond Green will be flanked by newcomers D'Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein. Instead of Durant at the starting small forward spot, Warriors coach Steve Kerr might go with Alfonzo McKinnie.

Super Death Lineup this is not.

Making matters tougher for the Warriors is the improvement of other teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers, Lakers, Jazz and Rockets all made blockbuster moves over the summer, while the Nuggets and Blazers return teams that were top-four playoff seeds in the West last season.

But once Thompson returns in February or March, the Warriors will be able to close games with a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Russell, Green and Kevon Looney, who signed a three-year contract in the offseason.

[RELATED: Eight things Warriors need to do to make playoffs]

As Green said last week, no one will want to face the Warriors in the playoffs. That will be especially true if Thompson is 100 percent in April.

Durant isn't around anymore, but the dynasty isn't dead until Curry, Thompson and Green say it is.

Magic Johnson can't believe Kevin Durant was unhappy with Warriors

Magic Johnson can't believe Kevin Durant was unhappy with Warriors

Kevin Durant came to the Warriors in 2016 in pursuit of a family and NBA titles.

Despite all the winning the Warriors did with Durant, he told the Wall Street Journal last week that he never quite felt like one of the guys. That possibly had something to do with him refusing to commit long term to the Warriors. It's hard for a family to accept you when you have one foot in the house and the other on the front porch.

NBA legend Magic Johnson can't begin to fathom Durant's logic in leaving for the Brooklyn Nets after three seasons and two championships in the Bay.

"KD, I hope that he finds happiness," Johnson said Friday on ESPN's First Take. "If you can't find happiness at Golden State, where are you going to find it at?

“First of all, give Steph Curry a lot of credit for saying, 'I'm a two-time MVP. I'm willing to take a backseat because I want to win.' Give Klay Thompson a lot of credit, because you know whose game suffered the most? Klay Thompson. He used to get a lot more touches before KD got there, and he said, 'I'm OK with that as long as we win a championship.' Draymond Green, even he had to take a backseat.

"So, Kevin, if you won back-to-back titles, you won MVP of the Finals as well, where are you going to find happiness at? I just want him to find happiness because when I look at Michael Jordan, when I look at Kobe Bryant, this brother, Kevin Durant, is one of the greatest scorers we've seen in NBA history, so I just want him to be happy. I just don't know where he's going to find it at if he can't find it at Golden State."

We imagine every single Warriors fan feels the same way as Magic does.

[RELATED: Durant shows no sign of limp after surgery]

Unlike Thunder fans, Warriors fans don't hold any ill will toward Durant. They're just puzzled by his decision to leave. He had everything he wanted in the Bay Area, and Golden State could have offered more money. Yet he still decided to leave.

But maybe Durant never will be happy in the same spot for too long. It's possible that in three years, Nets fans find themselves wondering why Durant wasn't happy, just like Warriors fans are right now.