Early Reactions, Notes On Leonard/DeRozan Trade

The highest-profile trade candidate of the 2018 NBA offseason finally appears to be on the move, as the Raptors and Spurs have reached an agreement in principle to swap Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. The Spurs will also acquire Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, sending out Danny Green in the deal.

It’s a fascinating trade for a number of reasons, not least of which is the apparent distaste that each star has for it. DeRozan, who was reportedly recently informed by the Raptors that he wouldn’t be traded, published an early-morning Instagram story saying that there “ain’t no loyalty in this game,” and TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) hears from a source that the longtime Raptor remains “extremely upset.” DeRozan isn’t backing off the claim that the team lied to him about a potential trade, Aldridge adds.

As for Leonard, his long-reported desire has been to return home to Los Angeles, so a move to Toronto represents just about the furthest thing possible from what he wanted. While it would be a surprise if he refuses to report to his new team, a long-term stay with the Raptors beyond the 2018/19 season will be a “very tough sell,” a source tells Aldridge (Twitter link),

Here’s more on the NBA’s latest blockbuster trade:

  • The Spurs are entering uncharted territory and facing an uncertain future, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com, who relays a few interesting tidbits on the franchise and Leonard in his latest article.
  • Sources tell Wright that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich “begged’ Leonard to let him announce to the media last season that the star forward wouldn’t be returning from his quadriceps injury, but Kawhi declined each time, believing he could still return. Leonard already “felt betrayed” by the club’s handling of his quad issue, and the uncertainty surrounding his absence and possible return didn’t help either side.
  • In a separate piece for ESPN.com, Wright breaks down the timeline of the Leonard saga, which started during the forward’s rehab process in the summer of 2017.
  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe passes along several initial thoughts on the deal, including the ripple effect the Raptors‘ acquisition of Leonard will have on other Eastern Conference contenders like the Celtics.
  • This isn’t the first time that the Raptors have looked into the possibility of moving DeRozan. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Toronto held exploratory discussions with the Timberwolves during the 2017 offseason about a deal that would have sent DeRozan to Minnesota and Andrew Wiggins to the Raptors. Those talks likely took place before Wiggins signed his five-year, maximum-salary extension.
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25 thoughts on “Early Reactions, Notes On Leonard/DeRozan Trade

  1. Hen1CHC

    Looking at it in a different light, now the Raptors can fully embrace a ball-movement, 3pt shooting oriented offense that they flashed last year – something DeRozan didn’t really fit into skills wise. He reverted back into iso ball in the playoffs, most can remember the significant stretches he was benched.
    He’s a great player, but there’s a chance that a Lowry / Danny Green backcourt coupled with all the 3-4-5 combos could, just maybe, make Toronto a better team

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  2. formerlyz

    Incredibly amazing trade for Toronto. They lose Poeltl, but whatever, they kept everyone else AND were able to get rid of Derozan in the same move, AND they picked up another 3 and D guy they could use, as well as opening up some flexibility next offseason

    I am confused that the Spurs would take this deal. I feel like everyone else’s offers should be better than this. Even Miami could have given them more, and probably would have been willing to take back Patty Mills too. They must think they can improve Derozan defensively, as well as his offensive decision making and outside shooting…I’d have to assume at least

    …also assuming DeRozan plays the 3 for them. They have a lot of young guards, and are now lacking wing depth. Losing Kawhi, Green, and Anderson…they could use another shooter or 2

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    • Agree with assessment. Spurs should have at least waited until after USA basketball camp.

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      • yoyo137

        Only if Kawhi decides he doesn’t want to sit out another year.

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    • BDUBS5218

      How so? They move him to the east, got back an all-star, a young prospect in a position of need, and a 1st rounder (could convey to 2 2s but still). All for a player that said he only wants to go to lakers, killing any leverage the Spurs could have had. Green is not a huge loss, had a rough year last year and gives more PT to Walker. All in all this was the best case scenario besides salvaging the relationship with Leonard

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      • bdallen714

        I don’t know that DeRozan fits the Spurs blueprint for a player. While he is a good player and an All-Star, his D is adequate at best, and his shooting is not quite top-notch. Interesting to see if the deal completely goes thru, and if more moves are made by either team after

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        • BDUBS5218

          Agreed,I could see him getting flipped potentially. However, all those things you mentioned could have said about Rudy Gay and he seemed to buy in and had a great year. There is no reason DRo cant be a good defender athletically he is up there with anyone, just an effort issue. Now that he wont be the first option ( assuming the offense runs through Aldridge again) on offense he should have more energy to focus on D.

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  3. I give no fox

    Interesting to see if this turns out similar to the PG deal. All-star wing controllable for multiple years, a young big, and a pick.

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  4. yamsi1912

    Will laugh if Leonard doesn’t report to the raptors.

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    • Pablo

      Then they’ll keep his rights and won’t play basketball. I’d like to see that happen.

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      • bennyg

        AND he’d have to sit the 2019/20 season out, as per NBA ruling made for such incidents

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  5. padam

    Spurs did well considering the circumstances. Pulling in a controllable player who drops 23+ ppl, 5 apg, shoots well inside the arch and solid FT% – can’t complain. Adding a first rounder along with Poeltl just sweetens it up. Plus, the Spurs can always flip DeRozen.

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  6. This deal makes a lot of sense Toronto, even if KL leaves after this season. Makes them better this year (payroll and tax neutral), and facilitates a quick rebuild thereafter.

    Not sure about SA’s perspective, but it’s probably about just getting as much aggregate value as they could, and figuring the rest out later. They did pretty good on that front, under the circumstances. DeRozan, despite his salary, can likely be moved for value at some point.

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      • One potentially missing 1st round pick in 21-30 range shouldn’t be the reason it’s all that hard.

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  7. San Antonio is the clear winner in this trade, DeRozan is a great player, much better than they could have hoped for the situation they put themselves in. I cannot understand why people keep saying despite his salary or overpaid, just to be clear his salary is right, stars shouldn’t have team friendly salaries just right like him, look Lowry or Conley are paid more & he is way better than them, Hayward & Wiggins are paid more too, & again he is way better than them, all this guys have had no all-stars appearances or 1-2 no all-nba team appearances, maybe Lowry 1, DeRozan’s got 4 all-stars & 2 all-nba’s, so he is much better & cheaper/same price, can anyone explain to me how he is overpaid, also apart of Wiggins the others are older than him… SMH

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    • padam

      Explain how the Spurs put themselves into that situation?

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    • formerlyz

      The only player you named that he is better than is Wiggins…also, coming from someone that doesnt consider Kawhi Leonard, a clear top 3-4 player in the NBA, to be even a top 25 player, your opinion loses validation here.

      If you can give a reason as to why it’s good for the Spurs, other than the fact that you dont think Kawhi is great, then that would be more fair

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  8. agentx

    Troy Tulowitzki ought to meet DeRozan for drinks before he leaves Toronto for good and talk about how each of their last teams did each one wrong.

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  9. Voidhelix

    Why is DeMar upset? He’s gone from Ontario ( 53.6% income tax), to Texas (ZERO% income tax). He just won the lottery.

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  10. bennyg

    There goes DMDRs All NBA Team selections…. LBJ, KD, PG… there’s 3 SFs already ahead of him

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  11. x%sure

    Surprised me, still a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is, Poetl is a fine prospect. He will be getting it done inside on the Spurs. PGasol has a few years left and an all-around game. That is the second 3 to leave, good thing they signed Rudy Gay.

    I’m thinking good news for Danny Green.

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  12. Djones246890

    The troll level of the Spurs is off-the-charts on this trade. Lol. You can tell this team hates Kawhi, and Kawhi hates them.

    “Oh, what’s that Khawi? You want to be traded to Los Angeles, or conference rival? Oh, okay.”

    What do they do? Ship him to the East coast, to another conference, in another country, where taxes are insane — therefore, he’ll lose more money. Lol. Gotta hand it to the Spurs on that one. :D

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