Eric Gay/Associated Press
A surprise suitor has emerged as the new favorite in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes: the Toronto Raptors.
Oddsshark shared new odds Thursday on the disgruntled forward’s team for opening night, with the Raptors coming in at even odds.
The Raptors have been seen as outside contenders throughout the process, with the Los Angeles Lakers being the focus of most trade rumors.
Leonard, 27, requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs after a messy yearlong battle over the handling of his groin injury.
The likeliest potential trade package would send DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby and Jakob Poeltl (along with a pick) to San Antonio for Leonard and salary filler (likely Danny Green). Toronto would arguably become Eastern Conference favorites with that move while also sacrificing at least two promising young pieces in Anunoby and Poeltl.
It’s unclear if the opportunity cost here is worth it for either team. DeRozan is an All-Star-caliber player, but you could probably name two dozen players you’d rather have than him going into next season. Paying his max salary for the next two years isn’t a burden many teams would want to take on.
But the Raptors would also be sacrificing cost-controlled players like Anunoby and Poeltl for a likely one-year rental of Leonard. The Oklahoma City Thunder went all in on their culture to trade for Paul George a year ago, and that worked out. Perhaps Leonard would sign long-term in Toronto.
That said, the fit feels too awkward here for the Raptors to emerge as such an obvious favorite in trade talks—unless oddsmakers know something we don’t.