Will Leonard stay in Toronto?

NBA Predictions 6/23/19, Will Kawhi Leonard stay with the Raptors?

The 2019 NBA Free Agency period gets started in a little over a week and one of the big names on the market is Kawhi Leonard. Where will the NBA Finals MVP end up?

Bet on NBA Futures Odds

Leonard opted out of his contract for the 2019-20 season, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He is free to sign with anyone. According to the latest oddsmakers, the Toronto Raptors are the favorite to keep Leonard, as they have -225 odds to keep Kawhi. The Los Angeles Clippers have the next shortest odds at +175 while the Los Angeles Lakers come in at +800, the New York Knicks are at +1400 and the Brooklyn Nets are at +1600.

Coming into the season, not many people would have pegged the Raptors as the favorite to get Leonard in the future, but that perception has changed over the course of the year. Leonard had a phenomenal season where he was able to get rest for the playoffs and then took over in the postseason. He looked to genuinely enjoy his time in Toronto and perhaps developed a trust for their staff that he seemed to lose with the Spurs over the 2017-18 season.

Most importantly for Toronto, the Raptors can offer him the most money. Toronto can offer Leonard a five-year, $189.7 million max contract. If Leonard is to go elsewhere, the most he can get is four years and $140.6 million.

Leonard also could opt for a similar path that other big names like LeBron James and Kevin Durant have done, and that is sign a short-term deal in order to get a max contract a little later in his career to truly maximize his earning potential.

Of the non-Toronto teams, the Clippers have the most potential to sign Leonard as they have put themselves in position to bring in multiple big names. Leonard is likely to want to play somewhere where he can continue to compete for titles. The Clippers have a chance to contend right away if they can sign Leonard and another top free agent to go along with their young talent they currently have.

The Lakers seem like a tough call given their financial constraints already, but Los Angeles may be going all-in on a Big 3 and just seeing what they can find around them. However, Leonard could have to play third fiddle to LeBron and Davis in that scenario when he is clearly a star.

I personally like the Toronto wager. Leonard isn’t someone that needs a big city to be happy. He doesn’t strike me as someone that wants a lot of spotlight or media attention around him, so he won’t have the same passion for L.A. that other stars may. Leonard was comfortable and happy with the Raptors, and they won. They showed him a lot of respect and I think that was something that was important to him after the San Antonio debacle. Leonard can make the most with Toronto and the Raptors can continue to contend for titles in the East as they are built.

NBA PROPS PREDICTION: Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors -225


NBA Headlines

  • PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia 76ers are down two All-Stars.
    Already missing Ben Simmons because of a back injury, the 76ers played without center Joel Embiid on Thursday night against Ne...
  • NEW YORK (AP) The NBA fined the Minnesota Timberwolves $25,000 on Thursday for violating the player resting policy with point guard D'Angelo Russell.
    Russell was held out Sunday at Denver for...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) Philadelphia All-Star center Joel Embiid sprained his left shoulder in Wednesday night's game against the Cavaliers, adding another worry for the 76ers, who are already without guar...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid left Wednesday night's game against Cleveland with an injured left shoulder.
    Embiid appeared to collide with Cavaliers center Ant...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond has been ruled out for Wednesday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers because of a strained left calf.
    Cavaliers coach J.B. Bic...

NBA Predictions & Picks

Thumbnail Lakers vs. Warriors Prediction Can the Los Angeles Lakers cover a big spread on the road without their leader when they face the Golden State Warriors tonight at 10:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Kings vs. Thunder Prediction Will the Oklahoma City Thunder be able to handle covering a big spread at home when they host the Sacramento Kings at 8PM ET?
Thumbnail Blazers vs. Pacers Prediction Can the Indiana Pacers continue their recent momentum and cover a big spread at home when they host the Portland Trail Blazers at 8PM ET?
Thumbnail Knicks vs. 76ers Prediction Will the New York Knicks be able to go on the road and compete with the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at 7PM ET?
Thumbnail Celtics vs. Jazz Prediction Can the Boston Celtics continue their strong play when they have a quick turnaround to face the Utah Jazz tonight at 10:30PM ET?