Toronto Raptors sharpshooter Fred VanVleet would really like Kawhi Leonard to remain a Toronto Raptors forward. VanVleet is a competitor, and he rather likes the sound of “Nick VanVleet, NBA champion.” Has a nice ring to it, eh? All of Canada, it seems, is in agreement with VanVleet about where they would like the footloose Leonard — the 2019 NBA Finals MVP — to play next year.
But you know what? If it doesn’t work out, so be it. They’re still happy. The Raptors and VanVleet are champs.
But how important is Leonard to Toronto’s championship chemistry? At one point in the Finals, VanVleet had a scoring burst and explained it like this: “That’s what I do. Kawhi can’t take all the shots.”
Is VanVleet trying to get Kawhi to stay? No. Not really. At least not anymore than he already has. Thing is, if Leonard wants to leave after the season the Raptors just had, what more can they do?
VanVleet was realistic: “”I would assume that he knows what is here and what makes this place special. 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.” (That sound you heard was Toronto disagreeing.)
VanVleet added: “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.” Besides, think of how many more shots for Fred! His scoring average in the Finals ballooned to 14ppg from 11 during the regular season.