The Toronto Raptors could be just one game away from winning their first-ever N.B.A. championship Monday night, in large part thanks to the heroics of new signing Kawhi Leonard. But the Los Angeles native has the option to become a free agent this summer, and Torontonians are pulling out all the stops to persuade him to stay in town from free food to free real estate.
Toronto developer, investor and brokerage, The Condo Store, is offering to buy the three-time N.B.A. All-Star a penthouse at one of the city’s luxury hotels including the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, St. Regis or Shangri-La hotel residences. Locally, all four locations are considered popular addresses for local sports stars. And The Condo Store will foot the entire bill.
“He doesn’t have to hand over even $1 and The Condo Store is here to make it happen for the betterment of the City of Toronto and the Raptors Organization,” Condo Store CEO Simon Mass said in an email to The Real Deal. Mass’ brokerage will pick up all homeowners association fees and iron out a “win-win arrangement/terms so that we can build on a relationship with Kawhi while he’s in Toronto and w/the Raptors,” he continued.
Mass was inspired to make the offer while on a charter flight last month to watch Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals where the Toronto Raptors faced the Milwaukee Bucks. On the way to the game, he learned from a friend about “Ka’wine & Dine,” an initiative among Toronto restaurateurs to offer Leonard free food for life if he re-signs with the Raptors.
“I made the comment to the gang on the plane that I’d offer Kawhi much more than free food to stay and that I’d be happy to offer a super luxury condo for him to stay in if he would agree to sign with the Raptors for five years,” Mass said.
Based on discussions with Raptors players whom he knows and does business with, Mass says Leonard is aware of the offer but is currently fully focused on winning the championship. “If I was a betting man, I’d say he will be talking to us after we win the finals in the coming week,” he said.
Leonard joined the Raptors last summer, after spending his entire seven-year N.B.A. career up to that point with the San Antonio Spurs. His current five-year contract is set to fully expire after next season, but he could choose to become a free agent this summer. The two-time N.B.A. Defensive Player of the Year has one championship ring from his time with the Spurs, after defeating the Miami Heat in the 2014 N.B.A. Finals. This is the first time the Raptors franchise has played in the league’s championship series. [Bloomberg] — Kevin Sun