It takes significant injury news to shift an entire futures market—Kawhi Leonard fits the bill.
Leonard underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. There is no current timetable for his return from the surgery. He was injured during the fourth quarter of Game 4 against Utah in the Western Conference semifinals.
Leonard has a player option in his contract and can opt in for $36 million this upcoming season. He can then sign a four-year, $181.5 million extension that would start the following year.
“Obviously, if I’m healthy, the best decision is to decline the player option,” Leonard said in December. “But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving or staying. I’m focused on the season, like I said. We’ll talk about that when the time is right.”
Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists during the regular season. He averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the playoffs before going down with the injury.
The Westgate SuperBook updated their futures market following Tuesday’s news. The Clippers were listed at 10/1 on June 27 and have been moved to 25/1.
Brooklyn has remained steady as the 3/1 ‘chalk’ to win the 2022 title. The Nets were the favorites throughout this season after they acquired James Harden, but injuries derailed their playoff run.
The Lakers made a slight move from 9/2 to 4/1 following Leonard’s surgery. Golden State did not get a bump, despite also being in the Western Conference. The Warriors currently have the third-shortest odds at 8/1, as Klay Thompson is expected to return from his injury.
Milwaukee and Phoenix, who are dueling in the 2021 NBA Finals, are listed at 10/1 and 16/1, respectively. The Suns have moved from 20/1 to 16/1 over the last two weeks.
Philadelphia (20/1) is the only other team priced inside of 30/1. Houston and Oklahoma City have the longest title odds at 500/1.
Despite Leonard’s injury, the Clippers still made an appearance in the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history. Paul George said they would have been “going on” to the NBA Finals if not for Leonard’s injury.
George signed a max contract extension prior to the 2020-21 season that guarantees as much as $226 million over five years.
“Well, one of the commitments I made signing my contract was to show I’m here for the long run and I’m committed to this team,” George said. “Hopefully, that weighs on (the Clippers players who have contract decisions to make).”