However, as they’ve gotten to know Leonard better, they have come to understand the other priorities that drive him on daily basis. That’s what their pitch will centre on: trust, familiarity, a commitment to maintaining his health and the shared goal of chasing a championship, as well as the extra year and contract worth nearly $50 million more than anyone else can offer. Winning is undoubtedly important to Leonard, and it’s quite clear regular-season victories aren’t what he’s after. To that point, how the Raptors fare over the coming months could go a long way in strengthening or weakening their bid. If they’re playing into June, they’ll have a pretty compelling case to make in the room with Leonard a few weeks later. Conversely, if they flameout in early-May that pitch becomes a lot tougher to sell.
July 31, 2021 | 5:23 pm EDT Update
As it turns out, the Celtics’ trade for Josh Richardson may have been insurance for a free-agent priority that is not working out so well. According to a league source, negotiations between the Celtics and Evan Fournier are close to stalling, with the team unwilling to meet the valuable wing player’s asking price of $80 million over four years.
Though it’s unclear what the Celtics are offering, “it’s not looking good,” said the source. As evidenced by reports that the Knicks and Fournier have developed a mutual interest, the Celtics now face stiff competition.
Bobby Marks: The $19.8M salary of Julius Randle is now officially guaranteed. The contract had $4M in guaranteed money for 2021/22 with a July 31 trigger date for the balance. Randle is eligible to sign a four-year $106M extension this offseason.
July 31, 2021 | 4:36 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: The Detroit Pistons are waiving guard Cory Joseph and F/G Deividas Sirvydis, sources tell me and @James Edwards III.