- Kawhi Leonard is averaging 31.2 points per game in the NBA Playoffs
- He is a pending unrestricted free agent
- Leonard is eligible to sign a five-year extension with Toronto or a four-year deal with another franchise
Remember when Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors and the whole world figured he was only there for one season? Well, those times have changed.
Kawhi Leonard 2019 Free Agency Odds
|Los Angeles Clippers||+150|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+200|
|New York Knicks||+500|
*Odds taken 05/08/19
It wasn’t long ago the two teams in Los Angeles were both much more likely to land the Raptors superstar but here we are. With Leonard one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals the odds have changed, and a return to Toronto is the most likely outcome.
For my money I believe they have it right, and I love the value at -110.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 7, 2019
Raptors Can Offer Biggest Contract
Simply put, the Raptors can offer the highest contract and it isn’t close. Not only are they eligible to offer Leonard a fifth year on any contract opposed to four-year deals from other teams, they are also able to offer yearly raises of 8% as opposed to 5%.
The Raptors are able to offer Leonard yearly raises of 8%. Other teams can only offer 5%.
Add it all up and there could be more than $45-million on the table from the Raptors that other teams won’t be able to offer. While Leonard doesn’t seem like a money-first super star, that’s a lot of dough to leave on the table.
Max Kellerman really said Kawhi Leonard IS BETTER than Kobe Bryant…
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 7, 2019
Many people point to favorable tax situations in other cities south of the border, but there is one other money related fact that many haven’t pointed out. Signing in Toronto would equal being paid roughly $40-million per year in American dollars while living in a country that uses Canadian money. With the exchange rate around 70% right now, that makes his contract in Canadian dollars north of $53-million.
Toronto Is the Best Basketball Fit
What’s not to like about Toronto if you’re Kawhi Leonard? They won 58 games this year and have Pascal Siakam, who is averaging 21.7 points per game in the playoffs and has emerged as a second star.
If the Raptors move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, or possibly even the NBA Finals, how could you pass up sticking with this core?
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 8, 2019
The Clippers have promise but not nearly as much as the Raptors, which is the same you could say for the Nets. The Lakers and Knicks are in different forms of disarray and really wouldn’t provide a better opportunity to win either.
In the soft Eastern Conference, remaining exactly where he is provides the best opportunity to keep winning important playoff games.
The Final Verdict
Leonard seems like the perfect superstar for Toronto. He’s a quiet assassin and is free to roam the beautiful city with members of the Toronto Maple Leafs soaking up all the extra attention.
He can win games, sell shoes, and continue to reach a mass audience all while making an insane amount of money. Expect him to stay in the Great White North.
Pick: Toronto Raptors (-110)