NBA news: Kawhi Leonard to the Lakers? Larry Nance Jr makes bold prediction – EXCLUSIVE – Express.co.uk

The San Antonio Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected first-round pick.

However, Leonard has a player option in his contract, meaning he can become a free agent next summer.

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers have been linked with moves for the small forward.

However, Nance Jr reckons the Raptors have a real chance of keeping Leonard in Toronto for the long term, similar to the Oklahoma City Thunder persuading Paul George to stay this summer.

“Toronto has enough to make him stay, it’s a beautiful city and they love their basketball out there,” Nance Jr exclusively told Express Sport.

“The organisation will do the best they can and the fans will embrace him, he’s already one of theirs.

“We saw it with Paul George, he said he wanted to be Laker, but come free agency, he loved Oklahoma City so he re-signed.

“I think it’s very possible we see another situation like that.”

There was a lot of mystery surrounding Leonard’s San Antonio exit, with the small forward making just nine appearances last season.

The 27-year-old’s camp felt the Spurs misdiagnosed and mistreated his thigh injury.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year underwent rehabilitation in New York after getting a second opinion, while his San Antonio team-mates didn’t know Leonard’s whereabouts.

Meanwhile, speculation was rife that Leonard was desperate to head to Los Angeles to join the Lakers or the Clippers.

And Nance Jr – who was traded to the Cavaliers this year from the Lakers – says Leonard’s scenario was bizarre, however, he’s excited to battle with the forward in the Eastern Conference.

“I was uncertain of what to make of it. There’s always reports of ‘Here’s what’s going on, here’s

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