San Antonio essentially swapped one All-Star for another, ridded itself of a headache - the Leonard-wants-out saga - and got a first-round draft pick as well. "Soon you'll understand. Don't disturb".
Leonard, of course, asked for a trade earlier in the offseason with an eye on heading to Los Angeles to be a Laker or a Clipper.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard likes "the idea that he's going to a contender" and will be on a team "that could be as good as anybody in the Eastern Conference". Following Leonard's injury in the 2016-2017 playoffs, he only played nine games in the 2017-2018 season. And now, Ujiri has dropped another bomb, dealing DeRozan to San Antonio as part of a four-player deal to acquire Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard holds up his MVP trophy after leading the Spurs to the NBA title in 2014 ending Le Bron James’ Heat dynasty at the same time
Unless the Raptors deal him at the deadline when his value would decrease as a pure rental, Leonard, the 2014 Finals MVP and two-time defensive player of the year, could be leaving some big bucks behind.
Two years ago, no one would have considered making the argument that DeRozan is a more valuable player than Leonard. "Kawhi was a great teammate all the way through".
"Attempts were made to see what would be best, and in the end this trade appeared and we felt this was the way to go", Popovich said.
Toronto is improved, but enough? Then they added Danny Green, so they got some experience, some winning but both guys are on the past year of their deals. "Are they going to buy in?" the talent guy said.