The wait for Kawhi Leonard doesn’t alter the Toronto Raptors plans

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The future of Kawhi Leonard looks set to be up in the air for the next couple of days at least. Waiting around for his decision doesn’t alter the Toronto Raptors offseason plans at all, though.

As the basketball world knows, the future of the Toronto Raptors hinges on the decision of Kawhi Leonard. It doesn’t hinge on him making a decision any time soon, though. The Raptors are willing to wait it out.

The plan has always been the same for the Raptors this offseason: re-sign Kawhi Leonard and reap the benefits of doing so. Leonard’s decision has a multitude of knock-on effects that can only be achieved through his choice of team for the foreseeable future.

Unlike their Los Angeles counterparts, the Raptors aren’t missing out on notable free agents falling off of the board. Purely because they can’t afford to sign them. Toronto isn’t signing Leonard into cap space, so there’s no alternative for them out in free agency. Players like DeMarcus Cousins, Jabari Parker, and Marcus Morris aren’t in the Raptors crosshairs at this moment in time.

The Lakers still have a way to go in filling out their roster with capable NBA talent. The wait for Kawhi, coupled with potential targets falling off the board could prove to be a problem for L.A., while the Raptors are more or less set for the upcoming season.

More or less isn’t perfect, though. But the Raptors know where they stand with the gameplan. If Kawhi leaves it’s feasible to expect the Raptors to consider a potential rebuild, which isn’t exactly breaking news. Only Norman Powell and OG Anunoby remain on the books past the 2019-20 season, so a rebuild has been on the horizon for a few seasons now, even before the Kawhi Leonard trade had even been discussed.

The only hiccup is the situation that Danny Green finds himself in. It’s been public knowledge that Green has been more than willing to wait on the decision of Leonard before deciding on his own future. Whether he would follow Kawhi to Los Angeles is anyone’s guess, but it seems more likely that he would re-sign with the Raptors and run it back for one more season if his fellow NBA champion opts to do the same.

Time is ticking on that front.

Considering not waiting and actually not waiting around are two different things, but Green is still a player who deserves to be paid handsomely this season. The difference between a deal in Toronto and, let’s say, the Dallas Mavericks might not be a lot in annual salary, but it’s more likely the Mavericks would offer the long term security. That’s less likely in Toronto if Leonard signs a 1-year deal with an option.

Still, the Raptors front office is a meticulous unit. They know all of the possible hands they can play and the outcome of each one.

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Leonard can take all the time in the world, it’s his choice. It doesn’t affect the Raptors nearly as much as their competitors and that’s their advantage. Everything is essentially in place for next season if Leonard decides to stay and there won’t be too much left to do at a quick glance.

Sure, waiting around isn’t ideal for the nerves but it doesn’t change the complexion of the Raptors plans an awful lot.