Posted on July 4, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Most of the NBA’s marquee free agents agreed to deals shortly after free agency began. This allowed oddsmakers to go ahead and alter the 2019-20 championship odds for quite a few teams. With the most impactful deals (excluding one) done, odds for most teams have stabilized.
But one guy, Kawhi Leonard, is keeping the odds from settling down for three teams—the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Toronto Raptors. Instead, as each new rumor gains traction in the media, the odds seem to shift.
Last Sunday at noon, the odds at the Westgate for the Lakers were set at +200, +600 for the Clippers, and +1000 for the Raptors. But at the time, the Lakers were considered part of the discussion and that he was likely going to the Clippers.
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Then free agency started at 6 PM ET and within an hour the odds changed. The Lakers dropped down to +160 as rumors surfaced that the Lakers were in the running for Leonard, which led to the odds moving for the Clippers (+800) but not the Raptors.
By the time 10 PM rolled around and most of the deal-making had finished for the night, the Lakers moved to +150, the Clippers to +1000, and the Raptors to +1200. The silence was a good sign for the Lakers and a not-so-good one for everyone else.
However, by late Monday morning the speculation calmed down a little and the Lakers settled back at +175 and the Raptors +1000 (Clippers remained at +1000).
That is a lot of movement for such a relatively short period of time—but it didn’t stop.
With Leonard the only star unaccounted for, the focus of every sports talk show was him. Anyone and everyone that thought they knew something or seemed believable began to chime in with what they thought Leonard would do.
The rumors favored the Lakers Tuesday morning causing the Westgate to drop the odds from +175 down to +125 and eventually to +100.
At some point, the odds shifted to +1400 for the Raptors and +1600 for the Clippers, but as stories began to surface that Drake was doing his own recruiting pitch to Leonard they shifted again. as of Wednesday morning, the Lakers moved back to +125 while Toronto returned to +1000 and the Clippers moved down to +1400.
But there was more movement to come. After Jalen Rose told the world on Wednesday that he was 99 percent sure Kawhi Leonard was staying in Toronto, they shifted once again. The Lakers moved back to +150, the Clippers shifted back to +1600, and the Raptors dropped down to +600.
So—does that mean it is going to be Toronto? Of course not! The one thing we do know is that Kawhi Leonard’s camp doesn’t want anything getting out before they are ready to make a decision. If keeping quiet is part of the deal, then there are no rumors coming from either of the three teams.
No one wants to be the team that messes it up because someone had to say something too early. But if there is anything fans can count on at this point, it is that the odds are likely going to shift some more