It began horrifically, but after the initial heartbreak, NBA free agency has actually worked out pretty well for the Warriors.
And if ESPN's Jalen Rose is to be believed -- and he probably should be -- it's about to get that much better.
On Wednesday afternoon's episode of ESPN's "Get Up", Rose provided the latest and perhaps most convincing update yet regarding Kawhi Leonard's free agency decision.
"What I'm 99% hearing is that Kawhi Leonard will be returning to Toronto ..."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) July 3, 2019
Nothing is confirmed yet, but Rose is very tied in around the league, and has been known to break news before. When Leonard went through his issues with the Spurs, Rose was the first to report the dysfunction.
It seems like we'll hear Leonard's decision sooner rather than later, but until then, we're just left to speculate. There certainly has been no shortage of rumors to latch on to.
But, if Leonard does indeed re-sign with the Raptors, it will further cement what has been an overwhelmingly positive first few days of free agency for the Warriors, with Kevin Durant's departure being the blatantly obvious caveat. The fact of the matter is, almost all of the best available players either remained in or headed to the Eastern Conference, and of the ones that didn't, Golden State signed or retained several of them.
(Assuming Kawhi stays with Raptors) Outside of losing KD, free agency has actually worked out really well for GSW.
Heading/staying East: Kawhi, KD, Kyrie, Butler, Horford, Kemba, Tobias, Vucevic, Middleton
Heading/staying West: Beverley, Bogdanovic, Redick (+DLo, Looney & WCS)
— Brian Witt (@Wittnessed) July 3, 2019
Of those players listed heading to or staying in the Eastern Conference, only Tobias Harris wasn't an All-Star last season, and he very well could have been. Not to mention, he just got paid like one.
The best free agent that will play in the West next year? That would be Klay Thompson, once he returns from his torn ACL.
The second-best? The answer to that question is probably D'Angelo Russell.
And frankly, it wouldn't be outrageous to claim that Kevon Looney is the third. Bojan Bogdanovic? Patrick Beverley? J.J. Redick? None of those guys put a scare in Golden State.
Outside of the Lakers acquiring Anthony Davis via trade prior to the start of free agency, the West has seen a mass exodus of star power. And if Leonard does re-up with the Raptors, that will mean that the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks combined to sign a grand total of zero max players and/or All-Stars in free agency.
Nobody saw that coming. But the Warriors certainly won't complain. They lost arguably the best available player in free agency, but outside of that, free agency thus far has been a win.