NBA News Roundup, Monday, June 24th: Major Kawhi Leonard update, Chris Paul wants to stay with the Rockets and more
The 2019 offseason is finally here, and it is gearing up to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. The upcoming free agent class is perhaps the best in NBA history, as the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Kevin Durant will all be up for grabs.
Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets are also attempting to make big moves as they look to build a roster that can compete during the 2019/20 season. So, here are all the latest NBA rumors you need to know for June 24.
Kawhi Leonard to decline player-option and will become a free agent
Following an incredible season with the Toronto Raptors, Kawhi Leonard is arguably the most in-demand free agent of the 2018 offseason. The 27-year-old has been linked with the likes of the Lakers and Clippers, and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Leonard will decline his player option in order to hit free agency:
Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard will decline his 2019-20 player option worth $21.3 million to become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Leonard, 27, is believed to be seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors, sources said.But there are a handful of teams who could secure a meeting with the 2019 NBA Finals MVP, sources said.
The appeal of returning home to Southern California is enticing to the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but with the trust the Raptors built while Leonard led the franchise to its first NBA title by upsetting the Golden State Warriors, rival executives view his current team as the favorite to land him when the free-agent negotiating period begins June 30, sources said.
During his debut season in Toronto, Leonard averaged career highs in points (26.6) and rebounds (7.3).