Kawhi Leonard Raptors rumors have been quite hot for over a week now. ESPN’s Zach Lowe was among the first to name the team as a contender, saying that it could make an “all-in” play to flip a star like DeMar DeRozan for Leonard.
From there, the rumors have taken off. Oddsmakers have certainly fueled the speculation, which, in turn, probably drives the odds to be where they are.
FS1’s Cris Carter, who seems pretty tapped in to Leonard’s camp, says there’s no way the forward is heading North of the Border. However, the Raptors could fit the bill for what the Spurs reportedly want, with a star like DeRozan, a number of young up-and-coming players on the roster, and the potential for alluring draft picks, especially if Leonard leaves the team and Toronto bottoms out.
In his NBA newsletter, New York Times basketball insider Marc Stein addressed the Kawhi Leonard Raptors rumors today.
He was on the ground in Las Vegas for Summer League. He isn’t ready to back the notion that Toronto is the favorite, but he acknowledges that the chatter is out there.
I just spent a few days at the N.B.A.’s annual summer league in Las Vegas, where buzz about Toronto trying to work its way into the Kawhi Leonard trade sweepstakes was constant. But is it real? The offshore oddsmakers who establish betting lines on these things certainly think so, because the Raptors have suddenly emerged as the bookies’ favorites to land Leonard via trade.
I can’t say I’d make the same forecast — at least not yet. But I did hear enough chatter in various Vegas conversations to believe that the Raptors have given legit consideration to gambling on a trade for Leonard…”
The issues are pretty clear, and Stein outlines them: his status as a 2019 free agent, the belief that he is Los Angeles or bust when he hits free agency, and his lingering quad injury.
Leonard can calm the nerves of those worried about that final factor next week, if he elects to work out at Team USA mini-camp. However, the first two are still huge issues, especially if a team is going to part with a mega-package to land him.