Where Will Kawhi Leonard Play Next Season? Ranking Best Odds on NBA Market
All odds on where Kawhi Leonard will begin next season come via Bovada and are accurate as of May 15, 2018. You’ll want to make sure to check these lines on a regular basis, as prop bets of this ilk are prone to sudden swings, because sportsbooks react to the latest rumors and team transactions.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers (+1200)
The Cleveland Cavaliers would have been more of a legitimate option had the outcome of the draft lottery gone differently. The Brooklyn Nets pick they landed as part of the Kyrie Irving trade last summer would have been the perfect carrot to dangle if it jumped into the top three.
Pairing that, with Ante Zizic, Cedi Osman and some salary filler may have peaked the San Antonio Spurs’ interest. In fact, it may have been one of the best offers out there. Leonard appeared in only nine games this past season and is ticketed for free agency next summer (player option). Very few teams will be opening to mortgage their future to a potential rental or, at best, a top-five player they’ll be forced to reinvest in just 14 months from now.
The Cavaliers would have been an exception. They need to do everything in their power to ensure LeBron James (player option) comes back for 2018-19. They’d have rolled the dice on their future for a win-now acquisition like Leonard.
All of this could be moot now, because the Nets’ pick did not jump into the top three. The Cavaliers will select at No. 8 instead, and unless the Leonard market is ice cold, the Spurs won’t be accepting a proposal built around that prospect and filler.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (+700)
Paint yours truly the color of confusion. More than a few people have the Los Angeles Clippers as one of Leonard’s three most likely trade destinations. Oddsmakers are sharing those sentiments here.
My response: Come again?
Leonard’s business people will no doubt want him landing with one of the two Los Angeles teams. He could promise to re-sign with the Clippers if traded to them. That’s not the problem.
The Clippers’ trade assets are the bigger issue. They don’t have much to offer for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and two-time league-MVP runner-up. They can peddle a couple expiring contracts, both of this year’s first-round prospects and some future picks, but nothing else.
The Spurs, in essence, would have to be extremely certain that the unprotected draft selections coming over would have a solid chance of settling in at the top one-third of the lottery in the coming years. Otherwise, they can, and will, receive better offers from more than a few different teams.
4. Boston Celtics (+1100)
You’re not alone if you expect the Boston Celtics to be higher. They have more raw trade assets than anyone in the league. They seem uniquely built to strike when a player of Leonard’s caliber becomes available.
But we run into a few problems when building a potential package on their behalf. First and foremost, we have their lack of salary filler. Jayson Tatum is slated to be their fourth-highest paid player next season. They would have to send out him, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris, plus picks, to make the money work—assuming, of course, the Spurs don’t have any interest in taking on Kyrie Irving, Al Horford or Gordon Hayward.
Perhaps that isn’t an issue. The Spurs could be looking for a return built around players who help them win now. Horford would be redundant with LaMarcus Aldridge already tow, but they could realistically talk themselves into Irving or Hayward.
Still, Irving is set for free himself in 2019 (player option), and the Celtics just traded for him last summer. They might be more willing to sell off Hayward, who played fewer than five minutes this year after suffering an injury on opening night, but he represents too much of a risk to the Spurs.
It makes more sense for the Celtics to revisit a Leonard trade in the middle of next season, after they’ve had the chance to sign a couple more salary-filling pieces. This way, they can build a deal around one of Brown or Tatum, plus Morris, a couple picks and fodder that isn’t one of their All-Stars or another top prospect.
This, of course, presumes they’re interested in Leonard at all. They might not be. They placed first in points allowed per 100 possessions during the regular season, so they don’t need his defense, and their offense has been good enough to reach the Eastern Conference Finals without Irving or Hayward. With them coming back next year, the Celtics may see Leonard as a luxury they have no business paying for.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (+1200)
The Los Angeles Lakers could be higher. Maybe they should be higher. They have a host or prospects they could send over to San Antonio in a potential package. Some combination of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart defintely gets the Spurs’ attention.
But the Lakers probably need to sign one of LeBron James or Paul George (player option), if not both of them, to make such an aggressive offer. Failing to land another superstar offsets the need for them to accelerate their timeline. There will be value in letting their current youth base marinate and grow—particularly with Leonard’s health bill being so murky.
Things remain complicated even if the Lakers decide to go all-in on a Leonard pursuit no matter what. They run into the same problem the Celtics have before next February: they aren’t blessed with great salary-matching tools. Any deal almost has to include Luol Deng’s two-year, $36.8 million commitment as an anchor, and the Spurs have no use for him.
That changes if the Lakers are making this move after signing only one star in free agency. They’ll have the remaining cap space to offer, say, Ingram, Ball and the player they draft with Cleveland’s first-round pick in exchange for Leonard.
Will they go that high, though? It’s a fair question. Ball and Ingram amount to forking over two top-two prospects. That’s a steep price to pay from the Lakers’ perspective. Their interest in Leonard, then, is likely tightly tethered to them signing one or both of James or George—long shots in and of themselves.
2. Philadelphia 76ers (+400)
Look no further than the Philadelphia 76ers to build the perfect Kawhi Leonard trade package. They have everything the Spurs could want: picks, prospects and digestible salary-matching resources.
Does San Antonio say know to an offer assembled around Markelle Fultz, Jerryd Bayless’ expiring contract, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and this year’s No. 10 pick? If so, would the Sixers swap out Luwawu Cabarrot with Dario Saric?
If the Spurs actually are open to moving Leonard, it’s tough to imagine them balking at both proposals. The Sixers would have to be smitted with the 2014 Finals MVP to surrender that much, but they probably are. They’re expected to make a play for Leonard’s services this summer, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey.
Technically speaking, the Sixers could even hammer out hte cap space to sign LeBron James or Paul George and then still have the assets necessary to poach Leonard from the Spurs. And knowing how much the Sixers want to expedite their timeline, we should amost expect them to be among the most aggressive bidders if the Spurs actually make their superstar available.
1. San Antonio Spurs (+1200)
Putting the Spurs at No. 1 isn’t the sexiest pick, but we have to be realistic.
Head coach Gregg Popovich is expected to try salvaging the Spurs’ relationship with Leonard over the offseason. He did the same with LaMarcus Aldridge last summer, and not only did it work, but it ended with him signing an extension. The same could happen with Leonard, who he has coached for the All-Star’s entire career.
Plus, the Spurs have the ability to offer a designated player extension that pays Leonard roughly $219.2 million over five years. No other team will be able to give him that. Granted, the Spurs could also elect to withhold the contract. After all, Leonard and his people didn’t deem him healthy enough to partake in most of the 2017-18 schedule. Allocating so much of your cap—about 35 percent—to one player following an injury-plagued campaign represents a monstrous dice roll.
In the event the Spurs do holster that extension, Leonard will have to re-quality to get it next summer by earning All-NBA honors, another Defensive Player of the Year award or league-MVP distinction. That’s not a given even if he’s fully healthy.
So, really, Leonard’s future in San Antonio has just as much to do with the Spurs paying him now as it does with him and the people in charge making nice. Should you get word the team won’t be slinging that designated player extension, you’re free to view the Sixers or Lakers as your best bet. Until then, though, the Spurs have to be the pick.
Category : Sports Betting NewsMore articles...