The San Antonio Spurs have sent former Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, accompanied by Danny Green, to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected first-round pick. As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The pick, which is protected 1-20, will turn into two second round picks if not used in next year’s draft.
Leonard has long wanted a trade out of San Antonio, preferably to Los Angeles but after a long season of rumors that were never addressed by him or his camp. The forward who only played nine games last season, will join a Raptors’ team that features Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Fred Van Fleet, and his former Spurs teammate, Green. An Eastern Conference team that has the potential to have great defensive units.
In the other conference, the Spurs are happily relieved to have finally traded Leonard, while receiving a four-time NBA All-Star in DeMar DeRozan, a player who can impact their team right away. The 28-year-old is also being packaged with Poeltl, who is a young player with solid upside and fits Greg Poppovich’s system of foreign players well.
Both All-Stars included in the deal, DeRozan and Leonard, are reportedly angry with the trade. DeRozan, based on reports and his Instagram story, was told he was not going to be traded during a Summer League meeting. Now he feels angry and betrayed by the franchise in Canada. Leonard asked to be traded to Los Angeles and he ended up in another country, with one year left in his contract, most people around the league expect him to be gone after the season.
It is a move that had to be made by the Spurs, and a move that is extremely risky for the Raptors. Luckily for them, they play in the Eastern Conference, and a Finals appearance might somehow convince Leonard to stay in Toronto long term.
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