The acquisition of Kawhi Leonard by the Toronto Raptors has gone extremely well, but they remain nervous about their odds of re-signing him in 2019. “They can’t change the geography. They can’t change the weather in Toronto. Those were always be things against them in this,” said Adrian Wojnarowski. “Home and L.A. has been the focus for Kawhi Leonard through all of this.” Wojnarowski also added that quality of life will also be a priority for Leonard and that his prior championship changes the equation for some players.
July 30, 2021 | 11:19 am EDT Update
Marc Stein: Teams interested in Atlanta restricted free agent John Collins have grown increasingly pessimistic that Collins can be signed away from the Hawks, league sources say. More coming in today’s This Week In Basketball column at marcstein.substack.com
Paul has a $44.2 million player option for 21-22 with the Suns that he could decline to become an outright free agent. Paul could also pick up the option and sign an extension with the Suns. “The feeling within the league now is that Chris Paul is going to stay put in Phoenix,” said Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective podcast. “The belief is Chris Paul will not ever be on the open market.”
About two weeks ago, Russell Westbrook went to LeBron James’ home and together they and Anthony Davis had a conversation about the All-Star guard joining James and Davis on the Lakers. They talked about putting their egos aside and playing as one in their quest to bring the Lakers another NBA championship. Westbrook talked about how his only intention was winning and coming back home to Los Angeles to become a champion.
Westbrook had a growing desire to join James and Davis in Los Angeles to compete for a championship, sources said. He formally informed the Wizards of his desires recently, according to sources: if they could find a trade that works, Westbrook wanted to go to the Lakers.
Washington executed the deal with no issues from Beal, per sources. The three-time All-Star, who is entering the final season of his contract, has expressed no desire to leave the Wizards, according to sources. As speculation about his future has swirled, the team remains confident it can keep him for the long term. The Wizards can offer him a four-year, $180 million extension in October, but if he waits until 2022 free agency, he can sign a five-year contract for an estimated $235 million to return to Washington.
Sources say to keep an eye on 28-year-old free agent Spencer Dinwiddie, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL but averaged 20.6 points per game in 2019-20. The Wizards are above the salary cap but could try to negotiate a sign-and-trade with Dinwiddie’s incumbent team, the Nets. The other pieces from the Westbrook trade, Harrell and Kuzma alone, would not be enough for Brooklyn to accept a Dinwiddie deal, according to a source. Dinwiddie is expected to receive interest from several teams, including the Nets, Knicks, Heat and Raptors, sources said.
Chris Grenham: Former Memphis and Kansas forward Dedric Lawson is planning to play for the Celtics at summer league, per sources. I’m told his brother, KJ Lawson, will also be on Boston’s roster in Las Vegas.