#KawhiWatch: Is the Raptors star in Toronto?
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019 6:37PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2019 7:23PM EDT
Fans of Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard gathered outside a hotel in the city’s Yorkville neighbourhood hoping to snag a photograph—even though it has not been confirmed that the basketball superstar is there.
The crowds started forming after a Maple Leafs Sport and Entertainment (MLSE) corporate plane flying from Los Angeles landed in Toronto Wednesday afternoon. Three passengers, who could not be identified, exited the aircraft and headed downtown in dark-coloured SUVs.
The vehicles made a stop at the Hazelton Hotel, where it was believed that Raptors President Masai Ujiri and General Manager Bobby Webster were waiting.
Fans optimistic about Leonard’s return to the Raptors following the team’s NBA championship win lined the sidewalk with their smartphones, hoping to see him emerge from the front doors.
But no one can confirm if the 28-year-old is inside the hotel—or even in the city.
Leonard has been taking his time considering his free agency options, perhaps adding to the frenzy in Toronto as fans keep their fingers crossed that he will sign again with the team.
#KawhiWatch has been trending on Twitter for most of the day, with experts weighing in on the rumours of Leonard’s Toronto visit and fans waiting with bated breath for a hint of a deal.
The Raptors can offer Leonard the most money, but he has previously indicated a desire to play in Los Angeles, closer to his home.
Reports indicated that Leonard will meet with both L.A. teams in addition to the Raptors before making his final decision.