Around 5:30 central time this morning Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs were close to a deal to send Kwahi Leonard to Toronto and DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio. Now the deal is done and Kwahi Leonard is headed to Toronto along with Danny Green, the Spurs receive DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 protected 1st round pick. This officially brings the Kawhi Leonard Spurs soap opera to a close.
This comes as a shock nobody saw Toronto as a destination for Kwahi Leonard. One can label Kwahi joining the Raptors as one being exiled to some far off island. It was obvious that the Spurs were not going to do Kwahi any favors by trading him to the Lakers. One can say they were being pity and spiteful in trading Leonard to Toronto, or you can look at it as a smart business move by not trading him within the western conference. The Spurs were able to get a perennial all star in DeRozan who is still in his prime, and promising young prospect in Poeltl.
DeRozan was quite naturally upset and felt betrayed. He took to social media and wrote how he met with he Raptors management and he was told that he would not be traded. DeRozan has every reason to feel betrayed, hurt, and upset he did a lot for that franchise. He means a lot to the city of Toronto, him and Kyle Lawry made the Raptors relevant a again. They got the Raptors back to the playoffs after Chris Bosh left. They made eastern Conference finals, and they earned the number one seed last year before losing again to LeBron. I stated in the Isaiah Thomas article that there is no loyalty in business. It is only about the bottom line, and facts are the Toronto Raptors needed a change.
The Spurs are in rebuilding mode at this point, and I believe it shakes out perfectly for history to be made in San Antonio. I believe Greg Popovich will coach this season, and then retire before the following season. Becky Hammon will take over and become the first woman to coach in the NBA. She will have a talented young roster with flexible cap space.
Toronto still has Serge Ibaka and Klye Lawry on the roster and you now add a top five player when healthy in Leonard. They have a young exciting group made up of Fred Van Vleet who they were able to resign this summer. Ogugua "OG" Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Delon Wright, and Norman Powell round out the rest of that young talented group. Unless he’s traded before the start of the season you still have a solid center in Jonas Valančiūnas. So this is a strong roster that can compete this season with Boston and Philadelphia.
The elephant in the room is whether Kwahi should stay or leave for LA. That remains to be seen, because nobody saw Paul George resigning and staying in OKC. That situation taught us that anything is possible, and now the pressure falls heavily general manager Masai Ujiri. It is up to him to convince Leonard to stay. A hard task to say the least after you just parted ways with a star who according to him said he was not going to be traded, and you traded him anyway. So if your Leonard how can you trust an organization who allegedly told their star player that they will not be traded and you trade him anyway. This is why according to the reports that Leonard wanted out of San Antonio in the first place. He felt like he could not trust the Spurs.
In the end professional sports is a business and can be seen as a dirty game. There is no loyalty that is why as a player you should always do what is best for you and your family. We will have to just sit back and wait and see if this was a good trade for both teams involved.