Kawhi Leonard likely won't be joining LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Except the Spurs never had any intention to trade him to another West Conference team, and especially not after the Lakers signed LeBron James. ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on "Outside The Lines" on Wednesday that Leonard hasn't yet taken a physical with the Raptors. Danny Green will be missed. Still, a lot remains up in the air.
While a deal between the Spurs and Raptors had been reported for weeks, it seems no one imagined DeMar DeRozan would be the player leaving Toronto, including the All-Star himself.
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Not long after the trade was announced, DeRozan took to instagram to voice his displeasure with the Raptors organization. DeRozan has reason to be mad since he reportedly met with the team's executives during summer league and was told he wouldn't be traded. Can't trust them. Ain't no loyalty in this game. "At the season-ending press conference we did, there's a different set of circumstances, so things have changed a little bit in the last three months".
But to understand why an executive might do that, you have to consider where the Toronto Raptors were before the early hours of Wednesday morning. Toronto is determined to make the trade worth their while.
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The Spurs opened on the 2019 National Basketball Association championship odds at a solid +3000, but bold free agent moves by Western rivals, including the Los Angeles Lakers' signing of LeBron James, along with the departure of veteran leader Tony Parker for Charlotte via free agency, have taken their toll on the squad.
Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. He also loved the team back, re-signing here (for huge dollars) just a couple of years ago, the first player of his calibre to not eventually spurn the Raptors for somewhere in the United States. At the NBA Finals, where much of the chatter was dominated by the potential homes of James (and Leonard), there was nearly no consideration of the Raptors as a real contender next season. Then, Tony Parker called out Leonard, saying his own injury was far worse but he was all healed.
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When Argentina defeated France 2-1, if they had closed further back, he might have come forward in the end to show his qualities. It is now up to others to take that decision".
The Spurs, understandably, wanted a king's ransom to give up Leonard and the deal they got from the Raptors probably was the best they could do.