The Kawhi Leonard saga in San Antonio is over. He is heading to the Raptors along with Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick.
This trade seems weird for both teams, it has its negatives and positives, but I see why it was agreed upon.
Why the Spurs agreed:
Right off the bat, it seems like the Spurs could have done better. Reports said the Spurs still wanted to compete for this upcoming season. I don’t really understand why you would want to finish anywhere between the five or eight seed and get bounced first round, but that’s just me.
The Spurs have been one of the most successful teams in the past 20 years so a rebuild is something new, that I can understand. You have to look at the bigger picture, the future. The Spurs don’t have much youth on their team and they should have addressed that with this trade.
Supposedly the Lakers offered a “Godfather” trade for Leonard, which I don’t think is true because the Spurs would have accepted it. The Lakers probably offered one young player because they’re just holding out for next free agency. Maybe the Spurs couldn’t acquire top young talent for Leonard so they had to settle for competing.
The Celtics reportedly offered only picks to acquire Leonard. You would have to believe that Kings 1st round pick was on the table and possibly more. Why wouldn’t the Spurs accept that offer? Because they wanted to compete if they weren’t getting top young talent. The Spurs won’t make it past the first round if they even make the playoffs.
Why the Raptors agreed:
The Raptors are blowing it up this offseason. First, they fired Dwyane Casey who won Coach of the year and now this. They traded away the face of their organization. DeRozan gave his heart and soul to that franchise and they shipped him out of town.
This is a business, tough decisions will be made and this was certainly one. The Raptors have been unsuccessful in the playoffs following great regular season in recent years. After being unsuccessful for so long change was needed but they jumped the gun a season too early.
Why were the Raptors so unsuccessful in the playoffs? Simple, LeBron James. For the past three years, they have faced James in the playoffs and went 0-3 in those series. LeBron has left for LA and the East now only has three legit teams. The Raptors would be one of them, along with the Celtics and 76ers.
Now being an elite team in the East is in jeopardy because reports say Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto. Leonard just sat out a whole year and I’m not putting anything past him at this point. Kawhi could go round two with sitting out, all he wants is to be in LA.
Kawhi Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, league source tells ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 18, 2018
Risky move for the Raptors but if it works out they could be a legit threat coming out of the East. Leonard is a top-five player when healthy, so an upgrade over DeRozan, but this is a high-risk high reward type of move. Giving the unsuccessful tries the past three season they had to shake things up and if this fails a full rebuild will be coming.
The Spurs had to trade Leonard because you never want a star to leave for nothing. If we’re choosing winners I’m going with the Spurs. There is too much at risk with Leonard possibly not playing.