Report: Kawhi Leonard could sit out entire season with Raptors
Kawhi Leonard is said to have no interest in playing for the Raptors, and the star forward could reportedly go to extreme measures to make his new team regret acquiring him in a trade.
According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, Leonard is so adamant about not playing for the Raptors that he may consider sitting out the entire 2018-2019 season.
And, league sources told Sporting News, Leonard has no interest in playing for the Raptors. There have been indications that he would sit out the entire season if necessary, and though that step would be drastic and unprecedented in today’s game, Toronto has forced the situation into uncharted territory by acquiring a player who has made it clear he does not want to be there.
It should be noted that there’s language in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement preventing players from becoming free agents if they “hold out” for a certain amount of time, but there’s probably a way Leonard could come up with an injury or create a disagreement between his personal doctors and team doctors like he did last season.
The Raptors are clearly hoping their situation with Leonard turns out like the one with Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder, but there appears to be very little chance of that happening. There’s also little chance Leonard would sit out an entire season after playing in just nine games last year, though it’s unclear how much his quad injury had to do with him not playing.
Leonard wants to play for the Lakers, and even a deep playoff run with Toronto might not change his mind. From both a basketball and business standpoint, sitting out an entire season is probably too risky. That said, the stories we have heard about what Leonard’s camp did last season to hide his rehab from the Spurs indicate the 27-year-old is willing to go to great lengths to get what he wants.