Kawhi Leonard
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Potential New York Knicks free agent target Kawhi Leonard opts out of player option for the Toronto Raptors for the 2019-2020 season. 

As expected, New York Knicks potential free agent target Kawhi Leonard has opted out of his player option for next season, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.

If he opted in, the Toronto Raptors would’ve paid him around $21.3 million. Now, Leonard will become an unrestricted free agent. However, he’s seriously considering re-signing with Toronto.

Leonard could receive a five-year, $189.7 million max contract extension with the Raptors. If he tested the free agency market, other teams could only give him a four-year, $140.6 million deal at best.

Raptors fans desperately want Leonard to re-sign with the team, due to the greatness he showed which led to the Raptors winning their first-ever title. Throughout the postseason, Leonard averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists. This played a huge role in the Raptors eventually defeating the Golden State Warriors in The Finals in six games.

This is somewhat news to Knicks fans. The Knicks are a potential landing spot for Leonard if he does end up testing free agency. Although Leonard is seriously considering staying in Toronto, the NBA Free Agency period doesn’t begin until June 30. It’s not impossible for Leonard to change his mind before that date arrives.

The Knicks are able to sign multiple max free agents this summer. Whomever they sign would team up with newly-drafted RJ Barrett, in what could be a turn-around season for New York in 2019-2020. Leonard could be one of those free agents, as it seems they’re not getting much closer to signing Kyrie Irving nor Kevin Durant.

According to reports, the Brooklyn Nets are gaining confidence in free agency. They’re making a huge push for both Durant and Irving. This would make the Nets go from just a playoff team to a roster that could have championship-caliber potential for years to come.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.