It did not take long for the San Antonio Spurs to regain the inside track on keeping Kawhi Leonard. Apparently.
In the latest odds released by Bovada, the Los Angeles Lakers have forfeited their pole position in the Kawhi sweepstakes, per Odds Shark:
Updated odds on which team Kawhi Leonard will be on for the first game of the 2018-19 NBA season (Bovada):
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) June 27, 2018
Look, I’m not going to say I told you so. But only because it’s implied.
Yours truly has been banging the “Kawhi Leonard isn’t going anywhere before the start of 2018-19” drum since this whole soap opera started. I’m not about to waver now.
The Spurs are not the type of team to move Leonard without any leverage. And they don’t have much right now. Not only is he a free agent next summer (player option), but he appeared in just nine games last season while dealing with a quad injury. Incoming offers are going to be of the lowball variety, even from teams that believe they would be able to re-sign him next summer.
If the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs cannot be repaired, it would make some sense to let the situation right out into 2018-19. That would give him to time rehabilitate his on-court value, and the offers on the table aren’t going to get any worse if he recaptures his previous form just because he’s being moved during the middle of the season.
Plus, we shouldn’t be ruling out a total reconciliation, either. Head coach Gregg Popovich worked his magic with LaMarcus Alridge last summer. He also helped the Spurs retain Tim Duncan many moons ago. He could convince Leonard things will be better, San Antonio could then offer him the designated veteran extension and all could be well. It could happen. And these latest odds reflect as much.