The San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors shocked the NBA world when they swapped superstars Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. Although there were talks about Toronto being interested in the former Final’s MVP, nobody thought that they would give up the face of their franchise to acquire him.
The whole deal includes the Raptors obtaining Leonard and Danny Green, while the Spurs received DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first round pick. This trade left many people stunned and upset DeRozan as he ridiculed Toronto for lying and being disloyal to their franchise cornerstone.
It’s hard to blame DeMar for being upset with Toronto. He has been the man for the Raptors for quite sometime now, leading them to the playoffs the past three seasons. He was told, not too long before he was traded, that he wouldn’t be traded and then Toronto goes against their word and dishes him off.
Although, the NBA is a business and if I had to choose between Kawhi and DeMar, I would choose Kawhi ten times out of ten. The Raptors got better with this trade and are real contenders in the East to make it all the way to the NBA Finals.
The Raptors teams is arguably better than the 2017 Spurs team that looked like they could knock off the Warriors before Kawhi went down with an injury in the first game of the Western Conference Finals. Even though the Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins, the Raptors could pose as a threat with Kawhi leading the charge.
Even if Kawhi doesn’t take them to the promised land and he ends up booking it to LA in 2019, the Raptors will have had their real shot at the title and will know it’s time to rebuild. DeMar might’ve been the face of the Raptors, but he was not the solution to win it all.
Unfortunately for the Spurs, Kawhi wanted out and it didn’t seem he would play if he remained in San Antonio. Yes, they got a superstar for him but with how loaded the West is now, DeMar won’t be the same as Kawhi and I can see the Spurs missing the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons.
This transaction involved betrayal and heart break. The Spurs lose a top five player while DeRozan is castoff by his city. Ultimately the Raptors win this trade because it is an all or nothing year for them and still have a chance to resign Kawhi. Meanwhile the Spurs lose out on a player that could’ve brought home numerous championships under Popovich and for this historic franchise.