The strange saga of Kawhi Leonard took another turn on Wednesday. The San Antonio Spurs star forward was medically cleared to return to action but instead of returning to the lineup, head coach Gregg Popovich has stated that he’d be surprised if he would be back this season.
On the surface, it might make sense. His quad injury is the type of injury that can be played through and mostly requires pain management. In situations like this, some players fight through it and some players opt to sit out. However, there’s more underneath the surface here.
In late January, both Adrian Wojnarowski and Jalen Rose of ESPN reported that Leonard wants out of San Antonio. He’s been very unhappy with how his rehab has gone, how he’s been treated and how distant he’s felt from the organization. When you combine that with what happened today, it paints a picture that Leonard may have played his last game with the Spurs.
In terms of the betting impact, Leonard is worth about 2.5-3 points on the spread on a nightly basis. In terms of their futures, here is what we’re looking at:
Odds To Win Western Conference (Courtesy Of BetDSI)
Odds To Win NBA Championship
Look for both of those to tumble a little bit as the understanding now is that Leonard is out for the year. The Spurs could be in the 20/1 range for the West and 30/1 for the championship.
Keep in mind that the Spurs seemed to have been in a similarly bad place with LaMarcus Aldridge last season but they resolved their issues and he’s come back strong this year. If that doesn’t happen, expect the Spurs to try and move Leonard, who has just one year remaining on his contract. If he’s disgruntled, he won’t re-sign.
Potential Landing Spots
There haven’t been many teams linked to Leonard as of yet but given today’s news, the trade winds should blow a bit more fervently. The Philadelphia 76ers have been one team that’s been linked to Leonard. A possible package of first-round picks might entice the Spurs. For the 76ers, they would acquire an All-Star two-way player to pair with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The other team that has been rumored to be in the mix is the Charlotte Hornets. They desperately need a centerpiece to build around and Leonard could be that. They’ve struggled this season, so a package of high draft picks could help the Spurs replace Leonard.
Will The San Antonio Spurs Trade Kawhi Leonard During The 2017-18 Offseason?
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
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