NBA News Roundup, Sunday, June 9th: Kawhi Leonard set to stay with the Raptors, Kevin Durant unlikely to return for Game 5 and more
With the NBA Finals now upon us, the playoffs are the talk of the basketball world - although there is no shortage of other stories emerging across the league.
The 2019 draft is just weeks away and teams will be hoping to strike gold by drafting either Zion Williamson or Ja Morant. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis continues to be linked with a blockbuster trade, while a host of stars including Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Kemba Walker are about to hit free agency.
With plenty happening around the NBA, here's a look at the biggest news stories and rumors you need to know for June 9th.
Clippers preparing for future without Kawhi Leonard
The L.A. Clippers have long been considered the favorites to sign Kawhi Leonard this summer. The 27-year-old is a Los Angeles native, and multiple reports have stated that he prefers the Clippers to the Lakers.
However, following Toronto's Game 4 win, Joe Varden of The Athletic suggested that their hopes of landing Leonard were fading:
The Clippers, sources said, feel confident Leonard will answer the phone when they call on June 30, but beyond that there is no way to know what impact Leonard’s Finals run will have. Those sources said the Clippers spend most of their time in meetings preparing for scenarios in which he doesn’t come to L.A.
Leonard joined the Raptors from the San Antonio Spurs on an expiring deal last summer. While a risky move at the time, the All-Star's arrival has put Toronto on the verge of a first NBA title. During four appearances in the Finals, Leonard has averaged 30.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game.