NBA

L.A. billboards push for Clippers to sign NBA champion Kawhi Leonard

A billboard near Los Angeles urges NBA Finals MVP and pending free agent Kawhi Leonard to abdicate his "King of the North" throne in Toronto and become the "King of SoCal" with the Clippers. Leonard, 27, averaged 30.5 points in the playoffs.

Raptors' pending free agent a hot commodity ahead of July 6 signing period

Los Angeles is doing its best to entice pending NBA free agent Kawhi Leonard to leave the Raptors for the Clippers, erecting a billboard for him to become the "King of SoCal" (Twitter/@LegionHoops)

A billboard near Los Angeles urges NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to abdicate his "King of the North" throne in Toronto and become the "King of SoCal" with the Clippers.

With free agency set to begin this Sunday, two digital billboards along Interstate 5 in Downey, Calif., are encouraging the Raptors forward to sign with Los Angeles.

One features an image of a personalized California license plate that reads "KAWHI," with the hashtag #ClipperNation. The other reads "King of SoCal" and has the hashtag #KAWHI2LAC.

A Clippers spokesman said the team had nothing to do with the billboards, located about 16 kilometres (10 miles) from Staples Center. It could be seen as tampering if the organization was involved, as the three-time all-star is still under contract with Toronto.

Leonard, who turns 28 on Saturday, is expected to decline his player option with the recently crowned NBA champs for 2019-20. The Clippers have a projected $52 million US in cap space and are expected to be among several teams seeking his services. July 6 is the first day of the signing period.

Leonard averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals in 60 games with the Raptors in the 2018-19 regular season. He averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 boards, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals in 24 playoff games.

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