Kawhi Leonard Spurs Raptors
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs battles with Patrick Patterson #54 of the Toronto Raptors during an NBA game at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 09, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

A new contender has emerged in the Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes. The Toronto Raptors are now the betting favorites to make a trade with the San Antonio Spurs in the 2018 NBA offseason.

Toronto is given better odds than the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics to acquire the superstar. Those three teams, along with the Los Angeles Clippers to a lesser extent, have been considered the most likely destinations for Leonard ever since it was reported he wanted to be dealt four weeks ago.

The shift in the odds could in part be linked to a recent report by The Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps, which noted that the Raptors have “generated buzz” as a potential landing spot for Leonard. A trade would likely hinge on the willingness of both teams to have either Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan included as the centerpiece of a deal.

While there’s been no concrete reporting that Toronto is actively trying to break up their starting backcourt, there’s been plenty of speculation that the team would look to trade one of their All-Stars. The pairing has produced plenty of regular-season success that hasn’t translated in the playoffs. The Raptors have five straight years of 48-plus wins and no NBA Finals appearances, culminating this past season with a second-round sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers as the East’s No.1 seed.

With LeBron James now in the West, Toronto could have their best shot at winning the conference for the first time in franchise history. Boston and Philadelphia are the favorites to make the Finals, though adding Leonard could make the Raptors more competitive. When healthy, Leonard is a significant upgrade over either Lowry or DeRozan.

The Raptors would risk losing Leonard in a year since he’s eligible to become a free agent next summer and reportedly wants to play in Los Angeles. That is, assuming the Spurs would be interested in such a deal.

Acquiring one of Toronto’s guards would keep San Antonio competitive in 2018-2019. The team reportedly isn’t looking to rebuild after making the playoffs without their best player for almost an entire season. For all of their playoff struggles, Lowry has made four straight All-Star teams and DeRozan even received some brief MVP buzz last year.

Both players are owed a lot of money over the next few seasons. Lowry has two years and $64.296 million left on his contract. If DeRozan exercises his player option in 2020, he’ll make more than $83 million over the next three seasons.

There doesn’t seem to be a perfect offer out there for the Spurs, at least not at the moment. It hasn’t yet been reported that Toronto has contacted San Antonio. The Lakers don’t seem willing to trade Brandon Ingram, and the Celtics reportedly don’t want to trade any of their budding stars. The 76ers might not be able to get a deal done until they include former No.1 overall pick Markelle Fultz in a trade package.

San Antonio is expected to trade Leonard at some point, but they could hold out for a few months as they look to get a desirable offer. Leonard’s odds of starting the season with the Spurs are the same as his odds of playing for the Raptors in the season opener.

The trade offers for Leonard could improve once the forward proves he’s healthy in actual NBA games. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year played just nine games last season after finishing third in MVP voting in the previous year.