7:55 PM ET
ESPN Information Companies
Fred VanVleet mentioned Sunday there’s nothing extra that the Toronto Raptors can do to persuade Kawhi Leonard to re-sign with the workforce, however he and a number of other teammates expressed their hopes that the NBA Finals MVP decides to return.
Leonard, who led the Raptors to a six-game NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors in his first season with Toronto, is anticipated to choose out of the ultimate 12 months of his contract and develop into a free agent.
“I feel for us, there’s nothing extra that we are able to do. We have executed it. The town has executed it. This franchise had executed it. The coaches have executed it. My teammates have executed it. We have executed our job. One of the best ways to recruit any individual is to simply be your self over the course of the 12 months, and I’d assume that he is aware of what’s right here and what makes this place particular,” VanVleet mentioned on the workforce’s first media availability since successful the NBA title.
“If it is sufficient than it is sufficient. If it is not then it is not. … We’d all love for him to be again and if he is not then we’ll transfer on from there. It isn’t the most important deal on this planet. He got here right here and did what he was imagined to do. So he introduced this metropolis a championship and I feel he has earned his freedom and his profession to do what he needs to do and we’ll all respect him and admire him.”
VanVleet added that if Leonard “is on one other workforce, then we simply should kick his ass subsequent 12 months,” drawing laughter from reporters in attendance.
“Hopefully he’ll be again,” he mentioned.
Raptors ahead Pascal Siakam mentioned of Leonard that the Raptors “positively need him again.”
Middle Marc Gasol mentioned Sunday that Leonard’s elite two-way sport makes him “one in every of a sort.” “I do not suppose there’s another participant of his caliber proper now within the NBA,” Gasol mentioned. “He is on a pedestal by himself.” With standing like that, longtime teammate Danny Inexperienced mentioned Leonard’s choice is bound to have a ripple impact throughout the NBA.
“Let’s not be silly,” Inexperienced mentioned. “His choice impacts lots of guys’ choices. He can change an entire group.”
Raptors president Masai Ujiri is also the topic of hypothesis, linked to a proposal from the Washington Wizards. Ujiri, who was not accessible Sunday, is anticipated to talk at Monday’s parade, which is able to end within the sq. outdoors Toronto’s metropolis corridor.
Even after a 12 months collectively, Raptors coach Nick Nurse mentioned he has no thought which means Leonard is leaning.
“I do not actually know,” Nurse mentioned. “I do know he is obtained to decide right here actually quickly, couple of weeks. I feel he had a great season and other people like him right here, and we may give him a great deal.”
Gasol can even choose out of the ultimate 12 months of his contract, whereas Inexperienced, a free agent, mentioned he hopes to return.
The Related Press contributed to this report.