NEW YORK (AFP) – Kawhi Leonard’s uncertain NBA free agency fate kept three teams in limbo on Monday as players continued to make deals to shake the league landscape.
Players and teams began agreeing to terms on new deals last Sunday even though no contracts can be signed until next Saturday.
Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title last month, was expected to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers plus the Raptors this week before making a decision on where to sign a new deal.
The Raptors are trying to keep together their championship squad while the Clippers, in Leonard’s home town, have a similar young team that would offer him a starring role.
The Lakers, who have cleared enough salary cap space, to make a top offer for the two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, have a chance to form a super-team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Lakers were reportedly looking at D’Angelo Russell, who went to the Golden State Warriors for four years at USD117 million after trading Andre Iguodala to Memphis.
Russell will partner Steph Curry in the Warriors’ backcourt until Klay Thompson, who agreed to terms on Monday on a five-year deal worth USD190 million to stay with Golden State, returns from a torn knee ligament.
Also reportedly waiting on Leonard’s decision is Toronto guard Danny Green, who is being wooed by Dallas but could figure into the plans of the Lakers and Clippers as well.
Other free agents looking for deals include Golden State centre DeMarcus Cousins and Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Lakers did land their first free agent on Monday, three-point shooter Troy Daniels on a one-year deal for USD2.1 million.
The Clippers agreed to an extension with Patrick Beverly at three years for USD40 million and got forward Mo Harkless in a deal with Miami.
“Anybody got Kawhi’s number??” Harkless tweeted.
In last Sunday’s biggest reported opening deals, Brooklyn secured two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who ruptured an Achilles tendon as Golden State lost in the NBA finals, and Kyrie Irving from Boston. Each accepted contracts below the maximum so the Nets could also grab centre DeAndre Jordan, who was with Dallas last season.