Kawhi Leonard Is Expected to Stay with the Toronto Raptors on a Short-Term Deal

Okay, we know we totally lied to you about this a couple months ago, but this time our sources are (fairly) legit. According to respected basketball outlet TrueHoop, insiders believe Kawhi Leonard will sign a short-term contract with the Toronto Raptors this offseason — and it’s been likely even prior to the team’s historic championship run.

“Even before the Finals began,” writes David Thorpe, a longtime buddy of Raps president Masai Ujiri, “we at TrueHoop heard from plugged-in sources associated with players and the league — but not the team — that Kawhi would return to Toronto, at least on a short-term deal.”

TrueHoops’ Henry Abbott tweeted an excerpt of the piece over the weekend.

Of course, there is some grain-of-saltness to all this. The sources here are second-hand — it straight-up says it’s not anyone within the Raptors camp. Still, both Thorpe and Abbott have solid reputations — the former is an ex-NBA player development specialist and the latter was an ESPN senior writer — and you’d think they wouldn’t want to risk their new venture’s credibility on inaccurate reporting.

Thorpe appeared on TSN 1050 today to corroborate a report that Leonard recently bought a house in Toronto.

“Everyone that I’ve talked to and is connected to his group agree the Raptors have done what they needed to do [to sign Leonard],” Thorpe said. “That doesn’t mean he can’t change his mind, of course he can, but as it stands today it’s hard to imagine that he would go somewhere else.”

Toronto has indeed made a pretty solid case for Leonard to re-sign. He gets as many days off as he wants. He’s got an excellent supporting cast, with Ujiri making all the personnel changes necessary (RIP JV) to get them to the Finals. He’s guaranteed free food for lifea baller penthouse, and copious amounts of KD (the macaroni, not the player) if he remains with the team. People are hastening to build him shrines around the city. The Raptors have done just about everything they can do to make Kawhi stay.

Well, besides win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That one’s still pending.