The Toronto Raptors are hoping that Kawhi Leonard becomes their version of Paul George. That’s to say the organization wants the superstar to re-sign with the team, even though he’s expected to leave as a free agent after just one season.

A year after the Oklahoma City Thunder traded for George and most of the basketball world expected him to leave for the Los Angeles Lakers, the forward decided to stay in OKC. Could Leonard remain in Toronto for more than a season, even though the Los Angeles Clippers are considered the heavy favorites to sign him in the summer of 2019?

When Leonard told the San Antonio Spurs last summer that he would leave in free agency, it was reported that the two-time Defensive Player of the Year planned to head to L.A. Leonard is from Los Angeles, and he’s since reportedly purchased a $13.3 million home in the city.

Leonard is thought to be eyeing the Clippers over the Lakers, and Los Angeles’ second team reportedly feels great about their chances to sign him to a max contract. The Lakers, however, felt the same way about George last season, which is why they ultimately decided not to trade for him.

Leonard scored 22 points Wednesday night as the Raptors defeated George and the Thunder. Ahead of their second consecutive meeting Friday night in Toronto, George told reporters he’s spoken with Leonard about his upcoming decision.

With the playoffs quickly approaching, the Raptors probably couldn’t have asked for the season to have gone any better. At 51-21, Toronto is just two games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the NBA’s best record. It wouldn’t at all be surprising to see them reach the 2019 NBA Finals.

Winning a championship might keep Leonard in Toronto, though upsetting the Golden State Warriors remains a long shot. Making a deep postseason run will only help the Raptors’ chances of keeping the All-Star.

George stayed with Oklahoma City, despite a disappointing 2018 postseason. The Thunder were knocked out of last year’s playoffs by the Utah Jazz in the first round.

A couple of months later, George didn’t even meet with the Lakers and signed a four-year, $137 million contract with Oklahoma City.

Just about every team with a max salary slot will pursue Leonard this summer. In addition to the Clippers and Lakers, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will likely go after the former NBA Finals MVP.

Toronto can offer Leonard a five-year contract worth close to $190 million. He can only get a four-year, $141 million offer from other teams.

Kawhi Leonard Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors runs down the floor in the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on January 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images