Windhorst: Raptors may be in ‘driver’s seat’ in Kawhi Leonard talks


"I think they're in the driver's seat for Kawhi because I think the Lakers have given up, the Sixers have given up", he said. And with the Nets, Bulls and Hawks spending their cap space, it makes it harder to assemble a multi-team trade.

Lowe himself confirmed the Kawhi-to-Raptors rumours held weight, then offered his own fake trade proposal of DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakam and at least one first-rounder.

The Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers have also been rumoured in the running for Leonard, but over the past week, most in National Basketball Association front offices believed that Toronto were in the best position to offer the Spurs a hefty package. Spurs coach and Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich is one of nine coaches planning to be there.

Leonard's contract expires following next season, making him one of the biggest targets in the 2019 free-agent class.

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Last week we covered the two fundamental risks involved in dealing for Leonard.

Adding to the drama, Leonard is now eligible to receive a 5-year, $221 million supermax extension with San Antonio, but there has been no indication if he would want to sign the deal or if the Spurs have made an official offer. But while there hasn't been any significant movement on the trade front from either team in Southern California or with the Boston Celtics, one team has been making a push to acquire the two-way star.

But the second - his upcoming free agency - remains the biggest road block in any potential Leonard deal. Meanwhile, an Eastern Conference team is getting all the chatter - the Toronto Raptors.

And that could see Toronto willing to break up the team that carried them to No 1 spot in the East a year ago by sacrificing one of their two All-Star players, most likely DeMar DeRozan. Per Wojnarowski and Shelburne, "San Antonio has been determined in demanding a sizeable return on Leonard".