The Kawhi Leonard saga is finally over (at least for now)! We don’t have to listen to reports about every move Kawhi makes anymore. Wednesday morning, Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Haynes of ESPN blessed us with the news that Kawhi Leonard is being traded to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan.
Toronto is close to a deal to acquire Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard, league sources tell @ChrisBHaynes and me. Trade package includes DeMar DeRozan, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 18, 2018
The crazy thing about this Woj bomb was that it was announced at 4:23 a.m ET. The entire country was sleeping when the news was announced. Let me explain to you the interesting story about how I found out.
At about 5:30 a.m ET this morning, I received an Amber Alert on my phone. My phone started going nuts and making amber alert noises, so I woke up. I opened Twitter for one second before I was about to go back to sleep, and I saw the Woj bomb and a few other related tweets. I thought I was still half-sleeping, and not sure if it was a dream, so I completely overlooked the tweets. A few seconds later it hit me. I scrolled back and realized what I had just read. Following that, I was then scrolling through Twitter until 6:15 a.m, trying to figure out the full trade. It turns out that the GMs likely had to wait for the other players to wake up to inform them of the news.
Between 8-9 a.m ET this morning, the full trade was finally announced:
FULL TRADE DETAILS:
2019 1st-round pick.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 18, 2018
It’s an interesting one for sure. I think that this is one of those trades that was good for both teams. The Raptors got Kawhi Leonard, who’s obviously a superstar, and Danny Green, who’s a proven player in this league. Things weren’t working in Toronto the past few years, so they switched it up. Raptors GM Masai Ujiri knew their window was closing, so he pulled the trigger on the move, while also getting DeMar DeRozan’s $27 million per year salary (through 2020-21) off the books. The Raptors are going to have one year to prove to Kawhi Leonard that Toronto is the place to be. If not, then they have cap space to spend on next year’s stacked free agent class.
The Spurs took the best deal they were offered. They got back an established star in DeMar DeRozan for a guy who just didn’t want to be in San Antonio anymore. This essentially guarantees that they forgo their rebuild for a few more years, as they are going to certainly be back in the playoffs. In addition to DeRozan, they get a young center in Poetl and a pick. Not bad for a guy that is coming off injury and going to be a free agent after this season.
If there was one issue I had with this deal, it was the personal aspect. The Raptors allegedly told DeMar DeRozan last week that he wasn’t going to be traded. Here we are today. He clearly wasn’t happy, and he showed that to us with his IG posts.
DeMar DeRozan posted these to his Instagram story… pic.twitter.com/JDc0stS5jx
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 18, 2018
Look, I truly feel bad for DeRozan. He’s one of the few loyal players in the league that wanted to stay in one location his whole career. In addition to that, he feels blindsided by Toronto. I could see why he’s upset. In the end though, it’s a business and DeRozan will move on.
I’m really looking forward to seeing two great players on new teams. Kawhi Leonard is a two-time all-star, and former NBA Finals MVP. DeMar DeRozan is a four-time all-star. I think the Raptors have a legitimate chance to make the NBA Finals now. The Spurs have a chance to be a top-5 team in the West. As I said before, I like the trade for both teams. There’s nothing like an NBA blockbuster trade on a Wednesday morning, and that’s why we love the league!