Toronto Raptors land Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio Spurs for DeMar DeRozan

19 July, 2018, 05:58 | Author: Rachel Mcdaniel
  • Spurs  Twitter Eyebrows were raised as the Spurs said farewell to superstar Kawhi Leonard

Now Leonard is finally getting traded and nobody is getting what they wanted.

But ESPN reporter Chris Haynes revealed that Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, where he is widely expected to play just one year before returning to his long-favoured destination of Southern California. At his best, Leonard was perhaps the second-best player in the National Basketball Association, and these are the type of risks necessary when such a rare talent becomes available on the market at a depressed price.

The ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, DeRozan is one of 10 players in the league to average 20-or-more points in each of the last five seasons and has been named to three straight NBA All-Star teams.

Popovich said he and Leonard spoke often this summer "about a lot of different things, on and off the court" but that no agreement could be reached that would keep him in San Antonio.

Earlier this month, superstar LeBron James made a decision to sign in free agency with the Lakers.

"DeRozan gave everything to Toronto, everything they asked him to do from the standpoint of loyalty", Wade said.

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DeRozan (seen on the left being guarded by Leonard) was not pleased with the trade after reportedly being told by the Raptors that he would not be dealt before next season. 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.

DeRozan was named to the 2018 All-NBA Second Team after averaging 23.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 33.9 minutes in 80 games last season with Toronto. After repeatedly falling short in the postseason, the Raptors are hoping Leonard can put them over the top. Although Leonard still seems adamant about playing in Los Angeles, Leonard in Philadelphia would have likely catapulted the 76ers to the NBA Finals.

There was some suggestion the Lakers wished to complete a trade for Leonard in order to aid their efforts in free agency with LeBron James and Paul George, but those stars never aligned. It is going to be very hard for the Raptors to sell the city of Toronto over Leonard's hometown Los Angeles. The NBA is a ruthless multi-billion dollar operation that will always put the individual needs of players last, if the players themselves fail to seize their own destiny.

Well, we still don't, but now at least we know what they weren't willing to part with for the disgruntled Spurs star.

"Kawhi was a great teammate all the way through", Popovich said.

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