New reports suggest that Kawhi Leonard may end up staying in Toronto after all. Until now, will Kawhi stay in Toronto was a question that nobody could even begin to answer. Leonard, who grew up in California, was always expected to sign with the Clippers or the Lakers to be closer to home after his year with the Raptors.
However, with the Raptors heading into Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the LA Clippers are bracing themselves for some bad news. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the Clippers are hoping that Leonard will pick up the phone at the end of June, but are spending most of their time in meetings preparing for Kawhi to re-sign with the Raptors. However, that doesn’t mean they are going down without a fight.
According to the New York Times, the LA franchise has recently gone to some pretty extreme lengths to win Kawhi’s heart. The Clippers even floated the idea of buying a share of Leonard’s personal “Klaw” logo from Nike in an effort to persuade the player into signing with them. Kawhi has been engaged in a nasty legal battle with Nike over rights to the logo, so it was a pretty creative idea on the Clippers' part.
Nike demanded that Leonard stop using the logo earlier this year, despite the player’s plans to use the design for a clothing line, footwear and other products. The NBA player was under contract with Nike until 2018 when he began endorsing New Balance.
According to Business Insider, Nike is unlikely to give up the logo to New Balance, which makes the Clippers offer even more appealing to Leonard.
However, according to the report, the Clippers would be violating NBA rules if they approached Kawhi with the offer to buy the logo from Nike. Which would be great news for the Raptors, who have already offered Kawhi Leonard millions of dollars in real estate amongst other perks to keep him in Toronto.