The 2019 off-season 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 rumours you need to know for June 25.
Celtics and Sixers opted against trading for Kawhi Leonard due to their belief that he would end up in Los Angeles
When Kawhi Leonard refused to sign a new long-term deal with the Spurs last summer, the franchise opted to send Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Potl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.
In retrospect, the Raptors didn't have to give up much to land one of the NBA's best players, and ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz is reporting that rival teams were put off making a move for Leonard as they believed he would head to the Clippers in the summer of 2019:
The informed belief that Leonard had every intention of signing in Los Angeles in 2019 was the determining factor for both the 76ers and Boston Celtics in not accepting more robust proposals by the San Antonio Spurs for Leonard last summer, according to sources with each team who were close to those negotiations.
During the regular season, Leonard averaged career highs in points (26.6) and rebounds (7.3), and the 27-year-old went on to lead the Raptors to a first-ever championship. He is expected to either stay with the Raptors this month or head home to Los Angeles with the Clippers.