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Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard to decline 2019-20 player option to become unrestricted free agent

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Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

As many expected, Kawhi Leonard will decline his 2019-20 player option with the Toronto Raptors and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

MORE: The case for Kawhi to stay with the Raptors

The final year of Leonard's deal is worth $21.3 million, with the Finals MVP now able to sign a larger long-term deal either with the Raptors or another team.

Toronto can offer Leonard a five-year, $189.7 million max extension, while other teams can only offer him a four-year, $140.6 million deal.

According to Haynes, Leonard is "believed to be seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors" despite strong interest from teams around the league, namely his hometown Los Angeles Clippers.

The 27-year-old could opt to sign a two-year deal with a player option for the second year, a similar path taken by fellow superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant. A one-plus-one deal would allow him to run it back with the Raptors next season and enter free agency again in the summer of 2021.

Leonard would then be eligible to earn 35 percent of a team's salary cap after 10 years experience in the NBA.

In his first season with the Raptors, Leonard posted career-highs in points (26.6) and rebounds (7.3), leading the franchise to their first-ever NBA championship.

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