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While All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard has been linked to several rival teams, he is strongly considering signing a two-year, $70 million deal to remain with the world champion Toronto Raptors, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Leonard is being courted by nearly every team in a major market after his championship run with the Raptors, and is even expected to meet with the Los Angeles Clippers next week.
But according to Stein and several other NBA insiders, the Raptors remain the safest bet.
That’s especially the case if a new contract with the Raptors includes a player option after next season, allowing Leonard the chance to opt out and return to free agency next summer, Stein reported.
“It has been suggested that a so-called 2 + 1 deal with the Raptors — signing a two-year deal with a player option in Year 3 — would also hold appeal for Leonard, since he would then be eligible for a higher maximum contract in the summer of 2021 after completing his 10th season,” Stein wrote in his latest newsletter.
A report from True Hoop last month said Leonard is likely to re-sign a shorter deal with the Raptors.
Meanwhile, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported Leonard will opt out of his contract, as expected, but that the Raptors are indeed in play as perhaps the favorite.
Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in 60 regular-season games with the Raptors.