Kawhi to the Clippers & Other Free NBA Free Agent Shockers
On Saturday morning just before 2 am, Kawhi Leonard broke the internet. Al Gore’s baby was no match for the news which came down upon the world of sports as most people we stumbling home during a 4th of July weekend stupor. After weeks of debate, fake news & swirling NBA rumors, Kawhi Leonard finally signed a 4-year $144 million contract to join the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent. Not only that, but he’s also convinced Paul George to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join forces in LA. Not only has it completely shaken up the current Mount Rushmore in the NBA, but it also had massive effects on the future betting market. While the Kawhi signing has been the big news of the offseason, there have been a whole bunch of moves which have radically changed the face of the NBA for the next 3-5 years.
Clippers New Top-Dog?
First and foremost, let me extend my condolences to all the Los Angeles Lakers fans out there, they would have about walked into the finals with Lebron, Leonard, and Davis. But alas, ‘twas not to be. Because at the 11th hour, after taking his sweet ass time to decide between the Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors, Kawhi made the call. He would be heading to LA to play home games at the Staples center as many predicted, only it was going to be for that other team in Los Angeles. Huh?
At that point in the night most NBA experts had given up on the Clips, many were reporting that Steve Ballmer had failed to secure a win in the Kawhi Leonard free agent raffle. But as we are all well aware, in these situations there are a lot of moving parts, and things change very quickly. And before I knew it, my phone blew up jarring me awake and almost causing me to fall off or worse, into, the toilet. Everybody and their mother were texting me about how the Clippers managed to pull this off and how the league is making such massive changes each year it seems. Surprising still was the package deal with Paul George. Oklahoma City gets in return Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeour-Alexander and a first five round draft pick.
So, what has this done to the betting market? Well quite a lot in fact, glad you asked. The Clippers were right around 35/1 at most books to win the 2019-2020 NBA Championship on Friday night and as high as 65/1 at certain points since odds opened. First off, air five to anyone who snagged them at this price, especially those beat the books to the lines. The odds were taken off the board almost immediately and when they came back, we had a new favorite. How’s this for something you don’t hear every day, “The Los Angeles Clippers are 3/1 favorites to win the NBA Championship?” Let that sink in; I’ll give you a minute. What a year in sports to look forward to, the LA Clippers, Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Twins might all be heading to Championships in the next 12 months, what a time to be alive.
How This Shakes Up NBA Futures Betting
Well we’re almost just about wrapped up with this year’s free agent bonanza which saw NBA teams spend more than almost any other in NBA history. Aside from the Clippers obvious win, the Brooklyn Nets were also huge movers in the offseason with the acquisitions of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In fact, on paper they made out even better than the Clippers, the big difference is the Durant might not even play next season. With the payoff more than 12-14 months away, it’s no wonder why the Nets sit as 22/1 to win the Championship, tied for 4th lowest in the league. But fret not BK fans, come the 2020-2021 season, things will be looking up at the Barclays.
Other big NBA free agent moves of note would have to include Kemba Walker, who signed a 4-year $141 million deal with the Boston Celtics as part of a sign and trade which sends Terry Rozier to Charlotte. The two squads also will be switching their second-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Jimmy Butler has agreed to sign a 4-year, $142 million deal to head Miami and join the head, another sign, and trade, this time with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Head will also receive Meyers Leonard from Portland and cash form the Clippers as part of the deal. Philly gets Josh Richardson while the Trail Blazers snag Hassan Whiteside from Miami. The Clippers, in turn, would gain the services of Maurice Harkless and the draft rights to Mathias Lessort + a protected first-round draft pick from the Head, which the Clippers traded to the Thunder for Paul George. Totally not confusing, right?
D’Angelo Russell signs a 4-year, $117 million contract to play with perennial contenders, the Golden State Warriors. Again, we play the sign and trade dance with the Warriors receiving Trevoeon Graham and Shabazz Napier from Brooklyn. They will then turn around and send those two players + cash, to the Timberwolves. Andre Iguodala and a packaged first-round pick will also be heading to the Memphis Grizzles. Crystal clear.
A few more minor moves of note, DeMarcus Cousins to the Lakers, Al Horford to the 76ers and Klay Thompson stays in Golden State. After the dust settled your new odds to win the NBA Championship look a little something like this:
- Los Angeles Clippers +300
- Milwaukee Bucks +400
- Los Angeles Lakers +600
- Philadelphia 76ers , +700
- Houston Rockets +1000
- Golden State Warriors +1000
- Utah Jazz +1200
- Denver Nuggets +1400
- Boston Celtics +2000
- Toronto Raptors +8000
I still believe that the Lakers are way overvalued and have phenomenal fade value, especially with such a logjam at the top of the Western Conference. They must now scramble to make the most of all the money they were not able to spend on Leonard as a free agent with cheap, short NBA contracts. With Lebron being such a diva, I can see him making life hard for the back office after letting this deal fall through. Add to that the mess of Magic Johnson ninja retiring from his seat atop the castle and the Lakers have a lot of questions to answer before I could trust them even to sniff the Conference Championship game. I love the 76ers and Rockets at their current odds, and it just pains me to see the Raptors sitting at 80/1 after winning it all just a few months ago.
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