Windhorst: Raptors may be in ‘driver’s seat’ in Kawhi Leonard talks

Where will Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard be playing next season? "But if you think it's a joke, you should probably recalibrate your expectations".

It stemmed from a brief conversation between ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe during the latest Lowe Post podcast episode in which Windhorst suggested that the Raptors were bona fide contenders for the 27-year-old former Finals MVP's services, but would likely have to include OG Anunoby to garner the Spurs' interest in any proposed deal. I think the Raptors are in the driver's seat. "And with the Nets, Bulls and Hawks spending their cap space, it makes it harder to assemble like a multi-team trade", Windhorst said.

LeBron James' departure from the Eastern Conference likely leaves the Raptors with a window of opportunity in what's considered to be a fairly open field, now headed by the Celtics and 76ers.

The Los Angeles Lakers were the front-runners, given they are said to be Leonard's destination of choice.

Leonard's contract expires following next season, making him one of the biggest targets in the 2019 free-agent class.

Leonard's future remains uncertain with the Spurs yet to offer him the supermax extension worth a staggering $221million over five years.

But if he's traded, Leonard would only be able to receive a maximum of $108 million over four years in an extension. However, the team doesn't want to move on from any of their promising players if there is a strong chance Leonard could join the team next summer to play alongside LeBron James. Injuries limited Leonard to just nine games last season, but he averaged a career-high 25.5 points per game in the previous season, in addition to 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.