Wojnarowski: LA Clippers emerging as front-runner for Kawhi Leonard

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the LA Clippers are reportedly emerging as a front-runner to land Kawhi Leonard next summer.

Adrian Wojnarowski’s latest article dropped some more information on us that we weren’t expecting. According to league sources, the LA Clippers are emerging as a front-runner to sign Kawhi Leonard next summer, and could play him alongside Jimmy Butler once the 2019-2020 season begins.

We’ve known for a while now that the Clippers and Leonard have mutual interest, especially after everything went down this summer. What we didn’t know, however, was that the league views the Clippers as the primary landing spot for Leonard next summer.

Perhaps it has to do with all the news that came out today regarding Butler. Per Shams Charania, Butler requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves this morning, giving Tom Thibodeau a list of “one-to-three teams” that he’d prefer a trade to. Those teams were reportedly ones that could offer Butler a maximum contract extension next summer, and before too long, the list was revealed by Wojnarowski:

Not soon after, Wojnarowski followed up his tweet by stating that the LA Clippers were Butler’s preferred destination of the three teams listed, and that he was “most determined” to work out a trade that would send him there. According to Wojnarowski, Butler is fond of the idea of playing with another star in Los Angeles, as the Clippers will be able to sign another max-level player next summer once free agency begins.

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That’s where Leonard comes in. We know he feels alright about the Raptors, and that it’s Toronto’s job to ensure he stays up North, but a chance to team up with Butler seems like the perfect opportunity for Leonard. The two are both hard-nosed defenders, and could combine to make the league’s best defensive group of swingmen.

Assuming the Clippers can land Butler via trade within the week, LA’s chances to sign Leonard next summer should only increase. With seemingly infinite cap space and a will to win, it’ll take a lot to stop the Clippers from pursuing two prominent stars in their prime like Butler and Leonard.