The Toronto Raptors have taken a huge gamble this summer by deciding to trade for Kawhi Leonard.
They opted to offload DeMar DeRozan – who had three years remaining on his contract – to acquire Leonard who will be a free agent next summer.
The franchise will be going on the charm offensive throughout the season in an effort to convince the two-time All-Star to commit his long-term future to them.
It’s widely expected that he’ll return to his hometown of Los Angeles next summer and sign with either the Lakers or Clippers.
When he requested a trade away from the San Antonio Spurs this offseason, he indicated a preference to go back home to California.
Instead, the Spurs made him go to a different conference and country altogether.
As things stand, the chances of Toronto keeping the 27-year-old would appear to be slim but a lot can change in the next 12 months.
The Oklahoma City Thunder took the same risk when they secured a trade for Paul George who also wanted to join the Lakers.
After a year in OKC, he was convinced to stay put and signed a four-year deal this summer.
But Leonard may be a different case as it seems he truly has his heart set on a move to L.A.
Therefore, the task will be much harder for the Raptors which is why their fans are keen to help.
They have started a special “Kawhi or Die” campaign to try and convince the superstar to re-sign next year.
The campaign is designed for fans to emotionally appeal to Kawhi by expressing how much the Raptors mean to them and why he should remain with them beyond this upcoming campaign.
“First and foremost, it’s an opportunity for us as fans to welcome Kawhi to our beautiful city, the country of Canada, and to the basketball team we are all so passionate about,” read a description on the site.
“It’s also a way for us to collectively express our enthusiasm for our Raptors, the great city of Toronto, and the incredible country we live in called Canada.
“Or maybe you don’t live in Canada and just love the Raptors or think Kawhi in Toronto is a great fit.”
The site has already received over 500 messages in the last couple of days and is only likely to grow.
You certainly can’t fault the Raps fans for doing their part but it’ll surely take more than just positive fan messages to keep one of the league’s best players in Canada.
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