The NBA and especially the Los Angeles Lakers are on the edge of their seats waiting for Kawhi Leonard to decide where he will take his talents for the 2019-20 season.
Right now, it seems to be a dead heat between the Lakers, Toronto Raptors, and Los Angeles Clippers despite the Lakers firmly believing they’re in the lead.
There are many positive arguments for each team, but perhaps one of the most used ones in favor of the Raptors is that Leonard can make more money there than on any other team. This is usually true — as the current CBA is set up that way — but there is a slight glitch in this specific situation that actually makes signing in Los Angeles.
Due to Canada and the province of Ontario having a far higher tax rate than the United States and the state of California, a four-year max deal in Los Angeles would net Leonard $11.4 million more, according to Sean Packard of Forbes:
During the first four years after signing his max contract, Leonard will pocket an extra $11,414,000 by signing with the Lakers than he would signing with the Raptors.
The rest of this article is written with the assumption that the Clippers were eliminated from the Leonard race, but the financial positives would be similar.
This is a spin on the usual story that staying with one’s current team should be more financially beneficial. However, the CBA simply can not take country and state taxes into account when making those financial decisions.
In the coming days, it will be interesting to see if money plays a role in Leonard’s decision. Considering the fact that the Lakers and Clippers have a legitimate chance at the All-Star player, it would seem that money may be less of a factor than it is for some other players. This would also make sense given the amount of time this decision is taking. If it was about the money, Leonard would have done that math on the first day.
The Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors all have extremely different pitches to attain Leonard’s services, but the Raptors may have a flaw if at any point they decide to bring up the monetary positives. They likely won’t, but it’s a quirk in the CBA that likely wasn’t thought of and perhaps Leonard may not be aware of himself.