What it do Babyyy?!? Are you tired of the NBA Free Agency Drama yet? News Flash, it's only been under 3 days since NBA Free Agency officially opened. Let's go back in time for a second to get the full picture of the Kawhi and the Lakers mini-series. A little over a year ago the vaunted Los Angeles Lakers were a wasteland of botched draft picks, management dysfunction, and 5 seasons straight of missing the playoffs. Fast forward to today, we still have the dysfunction in the Rob Pelinka, Jeanie Buss, and Magic Johnson Saga, but all but one of the young guys are gone and we have two of the top 5 players in the league--Lebron "King" James and Anthony "The Brow" Davis. So why would Kawhi Leonard sign with Lakers? As a Lakers fan the answer is simple, but I've placed my infatuation with the Purple and Gold on the back burner for this Top 10.
Top 10 Reasons for The Klaw(Kawhi Leonard) to Sign
1. Tax Relief - Sure, LA has aggressive taxes compared to the rest of the US, but the numbers pale in comparison to his current tax situation in Toronto.
"All told, his net annual income with the Raptors would be $14,618,000, or $58,472,000 total over the first four years of the contract.
If he signs with the Lakers, Leonard will only pay US and California taxes, along with jock taxes for which he will receive credits on his California return. On an average annual salary of $35,152,500, he will pay the US and California roughly $17,681,000, netting $17,471,500 after taxes. He would net $69,886,000 over the four years." (1) It's hard to turn down $11.4 Million for Humans and KawhiRobots alike.
2. Family - Kawhi Leonard was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and his family still resides in the beautiful city. Sure people move away from their family all day everyday, but being in a completely different country, causes a world of problems. The Klaw has shown that he places value on people he trusts.
3. Medical Staff - The biggest issue he had with the San Antonio Spurs revolved around the team's medical staff pushing him to return before his personal medical staff said he was ready. The coach, players, and medical staff turned against Kawhi when he sat out over 90% of the season to recover. Reportedly, Mr. Leonard spoke to Magic Johnson and requested to have his own personal medical staff, to which the Lakers acquiesced (2). We don't know much about the man of mystery, but we do know that he places a high value on health.
4. LeBron James & Anthony Davis - Most pundits would say that playing with LA-Bron James and Anthony Davis would be counter-intuitive since those guys will receive the majority of credit, headlines, and twitter tags. However, Mr. Personality(Kawhi), is the most low-key megastar that has ever existed, so being able to blend into the forest while Mr. James and Mr. Davis take the spotlight, would be a match made in heaven. This is the same guy that goes to Home Depot by himself and loads his own car as a normal civilian.(3)
5. Laker's Fan/Original Trade Request from Spurs - Once a Lakers fan, always a Lakers Fan. He grew up following the purp and gold's league dominance. In Los Angeles, at least back then(before the pesky little brother, Clippers, started stealing fans), the folks bleed purple and gold. Also of note, when he requested the trade from the Spurs, he demanded a trade to the Lakers, not the Raptors.
6. Dynasty in the Making - Even though LeBron is getting long in the tooth(for NBA standards, he's only 34), Anthony Davis is only 26 and Kawhi is 28. The core 3 would be in the position to take over the league for the next 3-4 years with multiple championships. And after LeBron retires, unless he takes the Tom Brady route and plays until he is in his 40's, the core of The Klaw and The Brow, is enough win championships in their own right. Kobe and Shaq part 2?
7. Weather - Who likes to live in the frozen tundra? Not me, not Kawhi, not most people, especially when they have the choice to live in the 80's year round, Los Angeles. Come home to the US big fella!
8. Load Management - Having 3 of the top 5 players in the league optimizes each players ability to utilize a load management rotation throughout the season because 2 of the 3 can beat the majority of the teams in the league. When it comes time for the playoffs stretch, all 3 will be fully rested to dominate on the path to the Championship.
9. Endorsements + New Balance Shoe Deal - Being one of the biggest markets in the world, Los Angeles pulls in far more revenue from marketing, endorsements, and ratings. No disrespect to Toronto, but even New Balance has been pushing Kawhi to join an LA team since his shoe sales will skyrocket there. The Lakers have the biggest brand in the NBA. Even missing the playoffs 6 years straight, publicly known management dysfunction, and the Clippers having a good season, the Lakers made the most money in the league last year and LeBron James had the #1 selling jersey. Enough said.
10. Greatest NBA Franchise in NBA History - Sorry Clippers, Raptors, and even Celtics. The first two don't even warrant a breakdown to illustrate that the Lakers are a better franchise historically, so we will start with the Celtics. Yes, they do have 17 Championships to the Lakers 16, but they only have 6 since 1972 and 1 since 2000(Lakers have 11 and 5 in those time frames). The league has become far more competitive since the time the Celtics dominated and most humans today have only witnessed one of their titles. While the Clippers and Raptors have been surging as of late, their number of banners and Hall of Famers remains non-existent.
All in all, Free Agent Kawhi Leonard needs to make the wise decision for familial, monetary, legacy, and health reasons and join the Los Angeles Lakers aka the LakeShow aka Lakers Nation. It's SHOWTIME!! *Swizz Beats Voice*