On July 18th the San Antonio Spurs Agreed to a trade from the Raptors to send 2x Kia NBA defensive player of the year and 2014 Finals MVP and Shooting guard Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for 4x Allstar DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick.
After only playing 9 games in the 2017-2018 season due to a quad injury that was suffered before the season began, Kawhi voiced his frustrations with the organization and demanded a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the season. Knowing that Kawhi Leonard will become a free agent next summer and has already stated what team he wants to play for many teams backed away from going into negations with the Spurs. There still were teams interested in negotiating though, since Kawhi announced he wanted to be traded big names such as Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard , and even young and up and coming superstars such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma began to be brought up in trade talks with the Spurs.
On July 16th unexpected talks between the Raptors and Spurs began who many believed would have been centered around teaming up DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard. No-one expected the Raptors to be negotiating a trade to send away a guy in DeMar DeRozan who just two summers ago took an 18 Million dollar pay cut to return to the Raptors instead of going back home and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers because he said he wanted to stay loyal to the Raptors Organization and bring a championship up north one day.
General Manager of the Raptors Masai Ujiri had other plans and when the opportunity presented itself to trade the 9 year Raptor who led the once forgotten about organization up North to multiple Eastern Conference Championships for a guy in Kawhi Leonard he jumped right on it. The unexpected trade received an instant reaction from not only Fans of the NBA but also players, and also one Big Raptor Fan “The 6 God” Drake who both thanked his friend DeRozan and welcomed Leonard to Toronto.
DeRozan even took to social media himself saying “Be told one thing & the outcome another. Cant trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing” shortly before removing all posts from his instagram account. Easy to tell DeRozan is upset about being traded by the organization he stayed loyal to through both its ups and downs.
DeRozan was not the only player upset , multiple reports came out after the trade was made saying that Kawhi Leonard is unhappy about the trade to the Raptors and is willing to sit out the entire 2018-2019 season rather then play in Toronto. This will become a big problem for the Raptors if Leonard decides to sit out because with the departure of seems to be Raptors “kryptonite” LeBron James in Cleveland who’s heading to the Western Conference to join the LakeShow in Los Angeles, the Raptors seem to be a favorite to win the Eastern Conference and have a potentially to make it to the NBA finals this upcoming season.
Head Coach of the Spurs Gregg Popovich in an interview stated how he feels it is time to move on and that he is excited to coach a player in DeMar DeRozan and get to work with his team. While there are still many questions to be answered Up North in Toronto, the Spurs still seem to have a very competitive roster even after the trade and are prepared to compete for a championship this season along side their hall of fame coach. Do You think Leonard will suite up for the Raptors this season? Which team will have the better record this up and coming season?