Things have been quiet on the Kawhi Leonard front recently, that is, until now. Betmybookie just released updated odds on which team Leonard will play on next season, and there is an interesting new team leading the way:
The Toronto Raptors are now the favorites to land Kawhi, coming in at even money. A month ago the Los Angeles Lakers seemed like where Leonard would end up, but talk of him going to the LA has died down recently.
So the Raptors huh? From not being mentioned, to +200 earlier today, to even money all of a sudden is definitely “fishy”. Well, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post has reported that the Raptors have “generated buzz” as a potential landing spot for the former MVP. Zach Lowe also theorized that Toronto and Kawhi isn’t as far fetched as it seems, and even offered up DeMar DeRozan as a hypothetical trade piece:
"The most logical all-in play on the board is Toronto offering DeRozan, one of Pascal Siakam, Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, and OG Anunoby, and a future first-round pick. Upgrade from DeRozan to Leonard, and the Drakes have a real shot to make the NBA Finals. Maybe Leonard would love Toronto, and enjoy playing in May and June in front of that nutty crowd."
On another note, DeRozan’s Instagram page is now completely empty. Could that be linked to a potential trade coming?
Basketball wise, the Kawhi move makes sense for the Raps, especially if they don’t think they can get over the hump with the team as constructed. With their window possibly closing soon – Kyle Lowry will turn 33 in March – it is now or never for Toronto…even if Leonard is just a rental. They would have a better team than years past, and their nemesis LeBron James is finally out of the Eastern Conference.
Best-case scenario, it plays out like the Paul George/ Oklahoma City Thunder situation. Leonard enjoys his time in Tdot and signs with the Raptors long-term. Worst-case scenario, Toronto doesn’t make the Finals, and Leonard walks when his deal is up. It would be a calculated risk for GM Masai Ujiri, but what better time than now? When else will Toronto have another chance like this to grab a top-5 NBA talent?
Either way, things are about to get hot soon. Like I said a few months ago when it came to a similar odds jump regarding LeBron, the Wiseguys always know first…