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Toronto Raptors

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says Kawhi Leonard didn't 'play' the Raptors, Lakers in free agency

#Kawhi

Kawhi Leonard is a Los Angeles Clipper. He'll be playing for the Clippers when the 2019-20 season starts in late October. Enough time has passed now for that to sink in.

However, reports are still emerging that both the Raptors and Lakers were unhappy with the way Kawhi decided to negotiate during his free agency tour.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst said that he heard complaints from the Lakers that they got "played" during negotiations. He also mentioned that he heard complaints from the Raptors that Kawhi asked for the "sun, the moon and the stars and left them at the altar."

While all of that may be true, Stephen A Smith believes the Raptors and Lakers have nothing to complain about, despite not landing the biggest free-agent prize this summer.

"They got a lot of nerve," Smith said on ESPN's "Get Up" on Monday morning. "In the case of the Toronto Raptors, let's understand that Kawhi Leonard was traded there, he didn't ask to be there.

"If you remember when he was in San Antonio, he was looking to go to L.A. So when Masai Ujiri decided to acquire him and trade away DeMar DeRozan and stuff, he knew that he was taking a risk - one year and done - and he was going to out of that, that was very very clear from day one.

"So Toronto has no reason to gripe. The man came there, spent one year there and delivered the first championship not just in the city but the country's history."

Priority number one was re-signing Leonard for the Raptors. They waited until the early hours of July 6th to find out Leonard wouldn't be returning to the team. By then, most free agents were already in place elsewhere.

Would that have made a difference in the Raptors haul this summer? Maybe. They still managed to sign Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas and Stanley Johnson, just to name a few. Of course, those names aren't going to fill the shoes of arguably the league's best player, but had Kawhi given the team more of a feel as to what he was doing, would they have been better prepared with their plan B?

One thing is for certain, though: this probably isn't the last we've heard of the 2019 Kawhi Leonard free agency tour.

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