Posted on June 2, 2019, by Travis Pulver
When the Toronto Raptors agreed to the trade that brought Kawhi Leonard to town they knew they were taking a big risk. They knew that they may end up only having him for one season; that he could jump ship the first chance he gets. If you listen to some oddsmakers, that is what he is going to do.
However, there is a growing belief that he will be staying in Toronto beyond this season—at least on a short-term deal.
When he was still with the Spurs the focus was on Los Angeles since that is where he is from. As could be expected, the focus was initially on the Lakers. But then it shifted to the Clippers as the rumor mill suggested Leonard did not want to play with LeBron James nor cared for the media circus surrounding James and the franchise.
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Leonard hasn’t really indicated one way or another what his intentions are beyond this season. All the fans and media have to go on is speculation and rumors from ‘sources close to Leonard and/or the Raptors.’ The latest has Leonard staying with the Raptors but on a short-term deal.
An easy argument to make against that would be that it would be foolish to leave so much money on the table when he could sign for five years and $190 million with the Raptors. But Leonard has already shown that money is not the sole motivating factor for him; otherwise, he never would have left San Antonio.
When it comes to the money, let’s be real—no matter where he signs, he is going to make a lot of it.
The rumor linking him back to the Raptors on a short-term deal hasn’t done much to sway the odds with most sportsbooks still favoring the Clippers. As of June 2, the odds at MyBookie.ag are as follows:
- Raptors +125
- Clippers -200
- Lakers +800
- Nets +600
- Knicks +300
- Field +300
Most books have similar odds but as of May 29, Bovada.lv had the race being much closer with the Clippers listed as +120 and the Raptors +125.
So—where is he going to go?
It’s hard to tell. Basing a decision off the odds is difficult because of how much they have moved in just the last month. Back on May 8, MyBookie.ag had the Raptors listed as the favorite (-110) followed by the Clippers (+150). Then, following Leonard’s miracle shot to win Game Seven against the 76ers, they shifted in favor of the Clippers (-150; Toronto +140).
Following Toronto’s big win over the Bucs in the Conference Finals they shifted again with Toronto regaining the lead (-110; Clippers +110) as of May 27. But then the Raptors won Game One of the NBA Finals and the Clippers are back in front.
There has been no reason for the odds to shift in the Clippers favor. Considering how well Toronto is playing, it would make more sense to see them shift towards the Raptors. But if people are betting on the Clippers for some reason, the odds are going to move accordingly.