The Raptors are reportedly on the verge of acquiring one of the best all-around players in the NBA. Under usual circumstances, that would be concerning for the Celtics. But it could just lead to chaos and turmoil for their rivals north of the border.
Toronto is on the brink of netting disgruntled forward Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs for guard DeMar DeRozan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal reportedly contains other pieces, with San Antonio’s Danny Green also heading to the Raptors and a protected 2019 first-round pick going to the Spurs.
The Raptors were a woeful disappointment in the playoffs last season, bowing out to the Cavs in four games in the second round despite clinching the No. 1 seed. Though the Raptors have made the playoffs for five straight years, they’ve only made it out of the second round once.
With three consecutive postseason losses to the Cavs, it’s apparent changes needed to be made in Toronto. General manager Masai Ujiri didn’t waste any time, firing Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey shortly after the latest playoff letdown.
On paper, swapping DeRozan for Leonard makes sense from a basketball perspective, albeit it’s a bit of a desperate play. It’s clear the Raptors weren’t going to ascend to the NBA Finals with their current roster, so they’re taking a risk on Leonard, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. The problem is, Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, per ESPN’s Chris Haynes. Since Leonard missed all but nine games last season with a mysterious quad injury, the possibility exists that he may not report at all.
To state the obvious, that would be a disaster.
On top of it all, DeRozan seems to be dismayed over the trade, too. The star guard posted a cryptic Instagram story Tuesday night that appears to address the blockbuster deal. “Be told one thing & the outcome another,” it reads. ““Can’t trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing.”
DeRozan has two years left on his contract and a player option for 2020-21.
Best case for the Raptors, Leonard leads them on an extended playoff run and surprisingly decides to re-sign. Worst case, Leonard refuses to show up or demands a trade, while the Raptors just alienated one of the most iconic players in franchise history.
It’s hard to think of a trade that carries a bigger risk than this one.
Full article @ Raptors trade for Kawhi Leonard, who doesn’t want to play for them, per reports
Source: GreenStreet Blog