Without much concrete news regarding what Kawhi Leonard‘s free agency plans are, we have to get creative in figuring out who has the upper hand in negotiations. What we know for sure at this time is that Kawhi seems to have narrowed down his decision to the Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors. Kawhi is (or was yesterday) meeting with the Los Angeles contingent of teams before taking his final meeting with the Raptors where he plans to inform them of his free agency decision.
Seeing as no real leaks have come from any of the actual teams, we can take a look at recent betting updates – specifically future championship odds – to see if oddsmakers may be getting an indication that Leonard is leaning one way or another.
Lakers’ Updated NBA Title Odds Could Hint at Kawhi Leonard Free Agency Decision
Interestingly, the latest odds from Bleacher Report (via Caesars Palace) have the Lakers climbing closer to being even money favorites while the Clippers plunged from 8-1 underdogs to 10-1 underdogs. Neither team has made any needle-moving additions since the odds were last updated, leading one to believe that there may be some new behind the scenes developments that have yet to come to light.
The Raptors also took a recent plunge down the future betting board and the defending champions sit well behind the Lakers as most books list them at nearly 10-1 underdogs to repeat as well. While it is clear oddsmakers feel that Leonard might be going to the Lakers, only time will tell if that ends up being the case as nobody truly understands where Kawhi’s head is at.
Other Lakers Free Agency Signings
At this point, the Lakers have only brought on board two players during the free agency period. The Lakers initially signed Troy Daniels on a veteran minimum deal worth $2.1 Million and later followed that up by promoting Zach Norvell Jr. from an Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way roster spot. Neither signing impacts the Lakers ability to sign a max free agent – like Leonard – and the Lakers will likely look to add a few more veteran minimum players while the Kawhi holdout continues so that they don’t miss out on the feeding frenzy altogether.
If the Lakers sign Kawhi, expect them to almost exclusively be bringing players on board using veteran minimum deals as a max free agent would put them flush against the cap. The Lakers do have a “room exception” to work with (worth around $4.7 million) that doesn’t count against the cap and could be used to help add an important role player on what would look to be a very top heavy team.
One potential free agent signing – should the Lakers sign Kawhi – would be Danny Green. Rumored to be wanting to follow Kawhi in free agency, the two could come as a package deal and the Lakers could potentially land the extremely useful “3 and D” specialist on a team-friendly deal.