Kawhi Leonard Traded to Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan

Woj is grinding on this beautiful Wednesday morning. I respect it.

The day has finally come. For months now, we have been waiting for the Spurs to trade Kawhi Leonard. And if all reports stand this morning, he will be a Toronto Raptor for this upcoming season, according to Woj. In exchange for the All-NBA forward, the Raptors will send All-Star guard/forward DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio. This deal includes multiple players, with Danny Green heading to Toronto with Leonard. Jakob Poetel and a protected first-round pick will be following DeRozan to San Antonio.

I wrote a blog last week about how the Raptors could (and should) deal for Kawhi Leonard. I said it then, and I’ll say it again: the Raptors should only be making everyone on their roster available if they have a long-term commitment from Leonard. That’s the only thing you can use to justify trading your best player. And if he commits to the Raptors long-term, I think this is a solid trade. However, it appears that Leonard has no interest in playing up North, according to this tweet:

So this begs me to ask, what the hell are the Raptors doing here? DeRozan is the absolute last guy you want to move if Leonard isn’t fully committed. I know it’s still early and maybe he could come around, but this is a massive risk. If Leonard walks next Summer, you’re stuck with that heinous Kyle Lowry contract and no attractive talent to build a new roster around. The Raptors are gambling BIG TIME here.

If you’re the Spurs, you couldn’t have made out better. Acquiring a 25 PPG scorer in this scenario is HUGE. Not to mention, Jakob Poetel and a future first is some pretty solid insurance. All in all, they couldn’t have gotten this good of a deal from anyone else, because nobody else is as dumb as the Raptors are.

And as far as the East goes, no part of me is excited to face Kawhi Leonard four times a year. But does this deal move the needle at all for Toronto? For now, I’m going to say no. Leonard is definitley an upgrade from DeRozan, but you don’t know how motivated he’s going to be. This move probably won’t get Kyle Lowry to come out of his playoff shell either, which makes me think they will continue to struggle when the post-season comes around. I still don’t think they have enough to get to the Finals.

To wrap this up briefly, the Raptors are a bunch of morons, the Spurs made out like bandits, and the Celtics are still going to win the East next year. Got it?

-Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)

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