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Francis Taylor, Asst. Publisher

Kawhi Leonard is a native Southern Californian and it has been widely speculated that he would like to return to his roots. Rumors have swirled around him joining a Los Angeles team and it has been hinted that he has no interest in the Lakers, which leaves the dominant Clippers as the likely target; and based upon coach Doc Rivers comments, they would love to have him.

Leonard’s ability to get to his spots on the floor, his enormous hands, his defense, his ability to hit a clutch shot, that all reminded the Clippers’ coach of someone else.

Accurate or not, that comment — that Leonard is “the most like Jordan we’ve seen” — cost the Clippers’ $50,000 for tampering. The coach of a team commented on a player under contract with another team outside of a pre/post-game interview, that’s a fine every time.

That this was the coach of a team strongly linked to Leonard as a free agent this summer made sure it was on everybody’s radar.

It’s also a small price to pay if Leonard decides to join the Clippers. Obviously, this one comment is not going to sway Leonard’s decision, but it’s been part of a season-long effort to show Leonard how much he is wanted by them. Leonard certainly has noticed.

Leonard has not tipped his hand about which way he is leaning this summer, as expected his focus has been only the court, where he has led the Raptors within three games of an NBA championship.

As basketball fans watch this year’s NBA finals, Toronto fans will hope that Leonard decides to remain in Toronto while Los Angeles Clippers fans will pray that he comes home.

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