The San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors have completed a blockbuster trade with All-NBA small forward Kawhi Leonard and shooting guard Danny Green going to Toronto for All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozen, center Jakob Poeltl and a protected first-round pick going back to the Spurs.
On the surface, the Raptors look like the clear winner here. But upon a closer look, both teams lost.
For Toronto, there will and should be initial excitement for the upcoming season. It’s clear they got the better player and it’s not close. Leonard, when healthy, is the best two-way perimeter player in the league.
They will also get a very motivated player out to prove he’s still elite and healthy. That will equate to a great season for Toronto and possibly a trip to the Finals with you know who moving out West.
The bad news is Leonard has no plans to stay in Toronto past this season. The money doesn’t mean as much to future free agent.
The Raptors are taking a huge gamble and if he walks, they will pay a huge price as it will set their franchise back. It will certainly knock them down a few spots in the pecking order in the East behind the Boston, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. Maybe Drake can make a song to persuade him to stay?
For San Antonio, better to get something rather than lose a player and get nothing(?) Not necessarily, it’s not only a downgrade of player ability but more importantly, player position.
The West is loaded at small forward with Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Paul George topping the list. DeRozen is a good player but the problem is good players don’t win much out West.
The good news is they have him for at least two more seasons (he has an ETO for the third year). There will be a line up shift with this trade and make no mistake, this severely weakens the Spurs position, possibly out of the top five.
Looks like San Antonio is coming back to the pack after 20 years of high level consistency.
In the end, neither team wins with this deal.