kawhi leonard

Billboards were just erected in Los Angeles to try to recruit Kawhi Leonard

NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard will decline his $21.3 million 2019-2020 player option to become an unrestricted free agent in just a few days, according to league sources.

This means that the 27-year-old, who earlier this month led the Toronto Raptors to their first ever NBA championship, could — theoretically — choose to play for any team he likes next season.

The Raptors are reportedly high, if not number one on Leonard's list of contenders as we approach the beginning of the NBA's free-agent negotiating period on June 30, but Toronto is far from the only team vying for the Board Man.

Leonard is expected to be courted by representatives from the Philadelphia 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets and, most famously, the Los Angeles Clippers next week when he becomes a free agent.

Toronto can offer him the most money with a max contract worth $190 million over five years, as Sportsnet points out, but the Clippers — well, they can offer him the chance to live in his home state, unbeatable weather conditions and some nifty billboards, apparently.

At least two digital billboards encouraging Leonard to choose the Clippers as his next team have been spotted along a highway in southeastern city of Commerce in Los Angeles County, near the Staples Centre.

One of them is a mock California license plate that bears the name "KAWHI" and the hashtag #ClipperNation.

The other is a crudely remixed version of New Balance's viral "King of the North" billboard erected in Oakland following Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

It is not yet clear who's responsible for the billboards. The Clippers have not taken credit, nor have any fan groups.

This may, of course, be due to how Angelinos are reacting to them.

"Just drove past the Kawhi Leonard billboard in Commerce," wrote one commuter on Sunday. "Gonna try to snap a pic later, but it's as awful as we all expected. It says Kawhi 2 LAC and King of SoCal. It's a digital billboard so maybe someone can hack that embarrassing shit and take it down."

Others are calling the billboards disrespectful to LeBron James, the true "King of SoCal."

"Look man I want Kawhi as much as the next guy, but if you think 'King of SoCal' sounds better than "King of the North" you don't deserve to have enough money to buy a billboard," wrote another critic.

Wherever he decides, it's unlikely that billboards are going to clinch the deal for Leonard. Especially if those billboards suck.

Lead photo by

Andrew Greif

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