Kawhi Leonard has officially signed A sponsorship deal with @CargoJetAirways based out of Hamilton Ontario. This is the same company who gave @Drake his signature Boeing 767 Airplane. #ESPNEID pic.twitter.com/O3HW5JGt6w
— Matthew Eid (@ESPNEID) June 21, 2019
A few days ago, Kawhi Leonard signed an endorsement deal with a Canadian company. This was the first sign of hope for the Raptors that the man who brought them a championship might stay. After all, why sign a deal in a whole other country if you’re not going to stay there? While that does not mean anything by itself, as Kawhi can easily represent CargoJet from the warmth of Los Angeles. However it truly would be odd, if he represented a Canadian company from Los Angeles, when better endorsement opportunities would surely be available. This sent the #hestay crowds into a frenzy on the internet, speculating wildly on his future.
Yahoo Sources: Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard declining $21.3 million player option to become unrestricted free agent with the Finals MVP seriously considering re-signing. https://t.co/cWhpcyyjXO pic.twitter.com/c8qNBOi0Nu
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 23, 2019
Chris Haynes tweeted this a few hours ago, as I am writing this. Let us not forget that Chris Haynes had an exclusive interview with Dennis Robertson, Kawhi Leonard’s uncle. Haynes states that “Robertson is Leonard’s primary career and business strategist”. If Haynes has opportunities to interact with Kawhi Leonard’s camp, it is within the realm of possibility that the fact that this information came directly from Kawhi’s camp. Kawhi declined his player option to presumably sign a max caliber deal with the team of his choosing. From the tweet it seems that the race is the Raptors’ to lose.
The bonds of a championship are hard to break. Even in pickup, when one wins a game the team stays the same, and the winners run it back against the next challengers. Toronto won this championship and there seems to be no reason for them to not run it back. Kawhi has expressed desire in the past to play in Los Angeles. But does that change after they win the championship? Of course it does. It is something etched in history. One doesn’t just walk away from that. Kawhi Leonard is the leader of these Toronto Raptors. That is unquestionable.
There is a lot of reasons for him to stay. Kawine and Dine. The city’s adoration for him and his persona. As fans, we are grateful to see the first championship comes to Toronto. It is even more insane that he has done all this and meshed with a new squad in just a year. Bringing a city the joy of truly winning for the first time has already made him a legend. Now he has the chance to stay and cement his legacy. The signs are there for him to stay. Toronto has made its pitch by winning a championship. Now it’s up to Leonard to respond.