Despite their NBA championship win, the Toronto Raptors have a reason to be upset. The Raps have lost a key piece of the puzzle that hepled to win them their first NBA title. That said, Kawhi Leonard’s deal with the Clippers was not a last minute decision by any stretch.
In professional sports loyalty is hard to find. Most athletes have a short time stamp and for that reason they usually go to where the money is. You don’t have to look at Kawhi for this to register. This isn’t a situation that is unique to basketball either.
Take a look at how the San Jose Sharks just let Joe Pavelski go. The man was loyal and underpaid for many years. Only to finally have the ability to get paid and then get cast off to the side. Unfortunately its the nature of the beast.
Kawhi Leonard did some spectacular things while in Toronto. The basketball city that has an entire country behind them finally won a Championship. It’s also because of Leonard that they did finally win. Leonard who is one of the greatest basketball players in the game right now has every right to chase the almighty dollar and go somewhere that will improve his brand.
This brings us to the LA Clippers. Some insiders in basketball had already dismissed the Clippers as the Kawhi contenders. They basicaally said it was a lock for him to either remain in Toronto or become a Laker.
Neither of those was the case when late Friday night it was announced that Kawhi would be joining the LA Clippers.
What do the LA Clippers have that Toronto could not provide? Is it the dreaded north-of-the-border cold? Could it be Canada’s tax system that gave the Raptors a disadvantage? The only person who can answer that is Kawhi Leonard right now.
What we do know though is that the Kawhi Leonard brand is about to take off and the fact that the US has a population of 300 million people and Canada not so much may suggest he wanted the bigger market to capitalize on increasing his brand revenue.
Make no mistake. This is about setting up your entire family; building an empire to last, so the generations of your family that follow you are set. That is the long-game here. Money.
Could Kawhi have came back to Toronto had he not been obsessively followed by the media? Trying to guess his every turn and where he was going and who he was with?
Not everybody wants to be followed like that. Certainly the sideshow didn’t help the Raptors in resigning him. Maybe it was the gun violence at the Championship Parade?
The Raptors are going to have to acquire some big feet to fill these empty shoes if they want to repeat as champions. This is one thing that is absolutely certain. In basketball, unlike hockey, you have stars that win and ensure titles. This is because there is far less league parity.
We will see what the Toronto Raptors decide to do next but for now and for the next 11 and a half months, the Raps are the NBA Champions.