- Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images
- Kawhi Leonard will be one of the most sought-after players in the league during the 2019 offseason when he becomes a free agent.
- The Toronto Raptors will likely do everything they can to re-sign Leonard, but he can also take his talents to whatever team he desires.
- In order to help the effort to re-sign Leonard, dedicated fans are taking part in the “KaWine and Dine” campaign, in which restaurants offer Leonard free food for life should he decide to stay in the city.
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Kawhi Leonard still has at least a few games left with the Toronto Raptors as they compete against Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference finals.
But regardless of whether his season ends at the hands of the Bucks or by lifting a championship trophy, Leonard will have a big decision to make in the offseason – whether he will sign an extension with the Raptors, or explore free agency and take his talents elsewhere.
Convincing a player to sign a new deal is usually the job of the team’s front office, but in Leonard’s case, the entire city of Toronto has decided to chip in.
The “KaWine and Dine” campaign encourages restaurants to print out and display a badge that signifies Leonard can eat free there for life if he decides to re-sign with the Raptors. The effort is led by Raptors Republic, a blog that covers the team and certainly hopes to keep the superstar forward with Toronto.
“We want to rally the city to do everything we can to let Kawhi know that we support him, want him here long-term and ultimately make him feel at home in Toronto,” the Raptors Republic marketing and social-media head Adam Robles told BlogTO. “He may need a warm coat, but he won’t need his wallet. Let’s wine’m, dine’m, and let’s re-sign’m.”
Since the campaign began, numerous businesses have joined the cause, including bars and restaurants. And now, apparently, a luxury condo is being offered to him.
If Kawhi Leonard re-signs with the Raptors, Simon S. Mass, CEO of The Condo Store Inc., will provide him with access to a luxury #condo in one of Toronto’s prestigious hotel residences!
Read More: https://t.co/Z5pxNPouHU@Raptors#NBA #Raptors #TORE #CondoLife #Toronto pic.twitter.com/4BF9h2rygA
— The Condo Store (@TCSRealtyInc) May 22, 2019
The campaign is even encouraging Uber and Lyft drivers to get involved.
In reality, Leonard has already made more than $100 million in his NBA career and probably isn’t worried about paying for his food and drinks across town. Still, for participating companies, the campaign is a solid way to show their love for a player while also generating some positive buzz around the excitement the team is bringing to the city during their playoff run.
The most important unknown in whether Leonard eventually decides to stay in Toronto or sign elsewhere is how far the Raptors can go this postseason. If they win the title, it’s hard to imagine Leonard leaving to play elsewhere, while a disappointing finish against the Bucks could steer him to Los Angeles or any other city that he favors.
Regardless of how far Toronto’s run takes it this year, some of the most die-hard fans in the city are doing their best to show that they are ready to celebrate Leonard for life.
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