LA Lakers Odds-On Favorites to Win 2020 NBA Title Amid Kawhi Leonard Rumors

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard drives against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 11, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

It turns out the Los Angeles Lakers getting more money to spend in free agency could go a long way in their pursuit of Kawhi Leonard.

Per Marc Stein of the New York Times: "With free agency a day and change away, it's the Lakers who have convinced Las Vegas—and an increasing number of league insiders—that they are L.A.'s true threat to limiting Kawhi Leonard's Raptors career to a single season. Not the Clippers."

According to Evan Abrams of the Action Network, "Westgate VP of Risk Management Jeff Sherman told Darren Rovell that the book moved the Lakers from +250 to +120 not because of big bets but to protect itself against the chance that Kawhi joins the Lakers."

The Lakers put themselves in position to land another superstar this offseason after they unloaded the contracts of Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards. That deal, along with Anthony Davis agreeing to waive his $4 million trade kicker, will leave the Lakers with $32 million to spend.

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Leonard intends to meet with the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors before making a decision. The New York Knicks are also hoping to get a meeting. Haynes previously reported Leonard was "seriously considering" re-signing with Toronto.

Leonard, who is from Los Angeles, could remain with the Raptors, either on a five-year deal worth $190 million or potentially on a one-year deal with a player option. If he leaves the Raptors, his contract with another team will be limited to four years and $140.6 million.

The 28-year-old was the most dominant player in the postseason, averaging 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in 24 games to help Toronto win its first title.