The Spurs finally got a return they liked for Kawhi Leonard.
Finally! Kawhi Leonard has been traded! Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors along with shooting guard Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan, center Jakob Poethl and a top 20 protected 2019 first round pick.
After weeks of speculation, Leonard was finally traded but it’s not to the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, he ends up north of the border with the Raptors.
A top five player when he’s healthy, Leonard instantly makes the Raptors a viable contender in the Eastern Conference. That’s assuming he reports to the Raptors. There is speculation that Leonard may not report.
In 2016, Leonard averaged a career best 25.5 points per game and for his career. he has averaged 16.3 points per game. He is one of the best two way players in the game when he’s healthy.
As for the Spurs, they get a shooting guard in DeRozen who is a high volume scorer who can create his own shot. The four time all-star has averaged 19.7 points per game in his career. In 2016, DeRozan averaged a career high 27.3 points per game.
DeRozan can score but he has had a tendency of disappearing in big games, especially in the playoffs. DeRozan did nothing against the Cavaliers in the playoffs this past season.
San Antonio also acquired center Jakob Poethl who is long, athletic and can play away from the basket. Poethl has potential but may end up coming off the bench with Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge in front of him.
Despite both players expressing disappointment in this deal, it is a good trade for them. Leonard and DeRozan should thrive in their new cities. Leonard’s overall ADP last season was 10. I think he will drop a little bit but he should still be a top 15 pick.
DeRozan’s overall ADP last season was 26 which means he went in the third round on average. I don’t see DeRozan going earlier or falling in drafts next season. He should go right around the same area.
The Raptors took a chance trading for Leonard knowing that he wants to play in Los Angeles. Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri will try to sell Leonard on re-signing with the Raptors next summer but that could be a tall order. Regardless of what happens, Leonard makes the Raptors a legit contender to win the east next season.
As for DeRozan, he will fill the scoring void left by Leonard but he is nowhere near the defender Leonard is. The Spurs are re-tooling but they still have a playoff caliber roster. They are far from a title contender however.
Time will tell how this trade plays out. Right now, it’s hard to predict a winner. Check back with me in January.