New York Knicks need to avoid the Kawhi Leonard rumors

Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

As free agency quickly approaches the New York Knicks will be evaluating multiple players but must avoid all Kawhi Leonard rumors.

The New York Knicks are going to be a significant player this offseason during free agency sporting the ability to sign two max contract players potentially. The names that have been associated with the Knicks rumor mill over the past year have been Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, and Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving. The latest name to surface as a possibility is current NBA Finals star and Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard is rumored to have moved up the Knicks wishlist in response to the Brooklyn Nets making a statement with their offseason intentions after a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. Knicks team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry require a superstar level talent to mesh with an array of young, unproven talent and Leonard’s demeanor is the perfect fit for the newly rebrand Knicks.

In a perfect world that would be ideal for the Knicks, but just like the last few seasons, it’s best that the rumor is dismissed and ignored to avoid further fan heartbreak. Leonard is currently thriving with the Raptors and immediately beloved by the Toronto fan base consistently showered with support from the entire country of Canada. It would be foolish to leave after such a fantastic season and take a deal with a team still trying to put together the pieces to the puzzle.

The Knicks need a leader ready to take on some possible tough times that come with playing alongside raw young talent. His former coach Greg Popovich once criticized Leonard on this very same issue and even though they have made peace since the fall out it is still worth addressing in the future meeting.

"“Well, Kawhi [Leonard} was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader or anything,” Popovich said. “Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills] were the leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but that leadership wasn’t his deal at that time. That may come as he progresses, but Patty and Manu filled that role for us last year, and LaMarcus [Aldridge] came a long way in that regard also.”"

Next. New York Knicks: 2019 free agency primer. dark

The Knicks need to not waste time with the dream of bringing in Leonard and focus on the players that have been open about coming to New York. The culture in New York needs to be positive and pushed together quickly with eager veterans hungry to win with new potential stars like Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., and Mitchell Robinson.