If I asked you, dear reader, what Kawhi Leonard likes, wants, and ponders, what solid information could you give me? Anything at all? Let’s say, hypothetically, that we strike a wager: One veteran minimum salary (for a player with at least 10 years of experience) in exchange for you giving me just one glimpse inside his head. But if you’re wrong, I get your Honda. Is it even worth the risk?
For any other player, this exercise would be easy. P.J. Tucker likes pancakes. Victor Oladipo likes to sing. James Harden likes strip clubs. Kyrie Irving unironically likes conspiracy theories. Kawhi’s been in the league for eight seasons. After seven playoff appearances, three Finals appearances, two championships, an entire season of Clippers rumors, an entire postseason of Raptors rumors, and an offseason of Lakers rumors, there’s still no indication which direction Kawhi is leaning. The only reports about him are updates on exactly how little we know:
Kawhi update: I’ve just been informed Kawhi has not made a decision. To think the Lakers are ahead of the Clippers or the Raptors would be wrong #KawhiUpdate— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) July 2, 2019
“Here’s what we know,” Scott Van Pelt said on Monday’s SportsCenter, “nothing’s been announced, but the appearance of a process continues.”
There’s no indication of what Kawhi is thinking. Or even, at this moment, where Kawhi is. It’s the third day of free agency, and every other tippy-top-tier player has signed. Yet all that’s been revealed about Kawhi through this period is that he does not pass up free horchata.
On Saturday, a Woj-in-training seemingly spotted Kawhi in San Diego at an establishment called Trujillo’s Taco Shop. An unverified Twitter account that claimed to represent the shop jumped at the tweet and gave some details about Leonard’s supposed visit. “Fun Fact,” the Trujillo’s Twitter account replied to young Woj, “We tried to give [Kawhi] his Sigma Chi crunchwraps for free, but he insisted on paying. A true class act! (He did, however, accept a free large horchata).” A fun fact, indeed. Revealing. If Trujillo’s Tacos can prove that this blurry footage is indeed of the 2019 Finals MVP, then they’ve given the biggest Kawhi scoop yet. Also, I owe them $2.6 million.
The next time the internet spotted Kawhi was on Monday, in San Francisco. That’s an eight-hour drive from Trujillo’s—or a 90-minute flight. These Saturday and Monday stops leave a day unaccounted for, offering a perfect window of time for him to have potentially visited Los Angeles when free agency opened on Sunday. But before I get too into these logistics, I should probably address the “evidence” that Kawhi was in San Francisco:
spotted around the san fran area not even in SFO pic.twitter.com/uylrNuMBUk— megans man (@alexthepoppin) July 2, 2019
The man in the photo is clearly tall; Kawhi is 6-foot-7. The man in the photo might have braids; Kawhi has braids; the braids in the photo also might just be a shadow or a hat; Kawhi also has a shadow, and we know for a fact that he owns at least one hat. I will admit that people have mistaken a regular stranger for the Finals MVP before:
On the same night that “Kawhi” was “in San Francisco,” he was reportedly having dinner with the Clippers. “Just heard that Kawhi is meeting with the Clippers tonight,” former NBA player Kendrick Perkins tweeted on Monday, “but the Lakers hold the upper hand, unless Doc work his Magic tonight it’s looking very strong that Kawhi will be in Purple and Gold!!!” Perk might be as reliable a reporter as he was a basketball player (read: not very), but his tweet carries at least slightly more weight than a Lakers insider from Reddit.
Kawhi is scheduled to meet with the Clippers (if he hasn’t already), the Lakers, and the Raptors. That is the beginning and the end to what we currently know about the NBA’s lowest-profile superstar, the oxymoron that is Kawhi Leonard. I hope he’s just eating a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich somewhere reading up on the Cricket World Cup.