Ever since he told the San Antonio Spurs that he wanted out, what the future holds for Kawhi Leonard has been a popular topic of discussion. But since the now-Toronto star is not one for talking to the media, it is hard to get a good read on what he wants or intends to do.
We do know that he is going to become a free agent this summer and that he has expressed an interest in playing in his hometown of Los Angeles. However, rumor has it that he doesn’t want to deal with the frenzy that surrounds LeBron James and the Lakers—which leaves the Clippers.
According to MyBookie.ag, the Clippers are now the team favored to land him:
- Los Angeles Clippers -150
- Toronto Raptors +140
- Los Angeles Lakers +200
- Brooklyn Nets +400
- New York Knicks +500
- Field +300
Those odds translate into the Clippers having a 60 percent chance to sign him while the Raptors have a 41.67 percent chance of keeping him. So, the odds are not exactly overwhelming on either side. Depending on who you listen to, he could go either way.
According to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, Leonard’s teammates are not expecting him back next season. They think he is going to Los Angeles but can’t say to which team he is going to. However, another Bleacher Report article, this one by Mike Chiari, league executives believe he will go with Toronto over the Clippers.
So, who he is going to sign with is up for debate, but it does seem that he is expected to go with either the Clippers or Raptors—but where?
He can make more if he stays with Toronto, but he has already proven that financial matters will not factor too heavily into his decision. If that were the case, he would have stayed in San Antonio. It is understandable to want to play for a hometown team. Family and friends will be able to see more games, and he’ll be around them more.
But while home is good, so is winning championships. While the Clippers were a vastly improved team this season and didn’t make things easy on the Warriors in the first round, they are going to need more than Leonard to become a legitimate contender.
However, since Leonard doesn’t share much with the media, it is hard to know what factors are really going to sway his decision. It is easy to assume that he will go with the richer contract and a better overall team in Toronto. But the allure of home can be pretty strong.
That is likely why the Clippers are favored to sign him. But what is interesting is that his odds went from favoring Toronto on May 8 (Toronto -110; Clippers +150) to favoring the Clippers less than a week later (May 14).
So, what happened?
Well, the only thing that did was Leonard hit that incredible shot to beat the 76ers in Game Seven. But it would make more sense for his odds to remain in Toronto to improve after that. Right? They didn’t, of course, and that could be our gain.
Betting on them now with their odds being longer means you can win more money. Of course, he has to stay in Toronto for that to happen and other than a few unsubstantiated rumors, there is no reason to believe he will not.
He has a chance to be on a team that is set to contend for years to come. The same claim can not be made about the Clippers.