The Raptors‘ potential pursuit of Kawhi Leonard is the hottest rumor making the rounds at summer league, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Toronto appears poised to join the Lakers, Sixers and Celtics as teams in the conversation for the Spurs’ star. With LeBron James out of the East, the addition of Leonard could tilt the balance of power in the race for the conference title.
Smith speculates that San Antonio would ask for DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, two first-round draft choices and another player or pick. Smith suggests countering with an offer of DeRozan or Kyle Lowry, along with either Norman Powell or Jakob Poeltl, plus Delon Wright and a pair of first-rounders.
DeRozan erased his Instagram feed this week and posted the message, “We had some bumps along the way. But the reward is in the journey. I’m in my bag.” However, a source close to him tells Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet that there’s no significance behind the move and it’s not an indication that a trade is coming (Twitter link).
There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:
- The Raptors have become the new odds-on favorite to acquire Leonard, notes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. OddsShark.com, a sports betting site, lists Toronto as the even-money favorite to swing a deal for Leonard.
- The Nets haven’t had any extension talks with D’Angelo Russell, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Russell, who was acquired in a trade with the Lakers last summer, put up some impressive numbers in first 12 games with Brooklyn before being sidelined by a left knee injury. He posted a 20.9/4.7/5.7 line on 46% shooting prior to the injury, which required arthroscopic surgery. Russell, 22, will make $7.02MM in the upcoming season and will be a restricted free agent next summer if no extension deal is reached.
- Japanese star Yuta Watanabe is making a bid for an NBA job with his performance for the Nets‘ summer league team, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Watanabe averaged 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in four summer league games. “It’s great for me,” he said. “Great experience, but it’s still summer league. I still have a lot to go, so my goal is not here.”