NBA

Nothing more Raptors can do – VanVleet on Leonard's impending free agency

By Sports Desk June 16, 2019

Fred VanVleet said there is nothing more the Toronto Raptors can do to keep Kawhi Leonard as the two-time NBA champion enters free agency.

Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP as he led the Raptors to their first championship at the expense of the Golden State Warriors.

The 27-year-old, who was traded by the San Antonio Spurs at the start of 2018-19, averaged 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 49 per cent from the field in 24 playoff games.

The Los Angeles Clippers have been linked to Leonard, while the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers will also reportedly pursue the Raptors star.

Discussing Leonard's future, Toronto guard VanVleet said: "I think that for us, at least speaking for myself, there’s nothing more that we can do.

"We've done it, the city's done it, the coaches have done it, the team-mates have done it. We've done our job. The best way to recruit somebody is to just be yourself over the course of the year."

"I would assume that he knows what is here and what makes this place special," VanVleet said as the Raptors look to re-sign Leonard. "And, if it's enough it'll be enough and if it's not then it's not. So, it's not the biggest deal in the world.

"He came here and did what he was supposed to do. He brought this city a championship and I think he's earned his freedom in his career to do what he wants to do and we'll all respect and admire him."

Marc Gasol, who was sent from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Raptors at the deadline, praised Leonard when he met with reporters on Sunday.

"I don't think there's any other player of his calibre in the NBA right now," Gasol said. "He's on a pedestal by himself."

The Raptors acquired Leonard — along with Danny Green — from the Spurs for a package centred around DeMar DeRozan in a blockbuster trade last offseason.

Green will also be a free agent this offseason and said he would like to return to Toronto. But, he added Leonard's decision will have an impact on his.

"He can change a whole organisation," Green said.

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