By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The San Antonio Spurs have agreed to trade Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jako Poeltl, and a top-20-protected 2019 first-round pick. Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania was first to report on Wednesday that the Spurs and Raptors were engaged in serious talks for a trade centered around Leonard and DeRozan, while ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later reported the details of the deal.
The most head-turning report surrounding this trade in the immediate aftermath is from ESPN’s Chris Haynes, who tweeted that Leonard “has no desire to play in Toronto”. Wojnarowski and Haynes are reporting that neither Leonard nor DeRozan are “expressing enthusiasm” for the swap.
Leonard has long expressed a desire to play in Los Angeles, preferably with the Lakers, and intends to sign with one of the L.A. teams as a free agent in 2019. He’s already indicating that he isn’t excited about playing even a single season for the Raptors.
Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics quickly fell off the radar in Leonard trade talks. Off the table in discussions were Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford, and the Spurs didn’t like Ainge’s pick-heavy offers. The C’s weren’t interested in moving major pieces off the current roster for a player he knew wasn’t likely to stay beyond one season.
Player-for-player, Leonard is a clear upgrade over DeRozan for the Raptors. The question is how invested he will be in playing out the 2018-19 season in Toronto, knowing he’s bolting for Los Angeles next summer. The upgrade probably isn’t enough to make the Raptors, as currently constituted, a serious threat to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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