What a difference a few weeks makes.
When reports first surfaced that Kawhi Leonard wanted a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, the Toronto Raptors weren’t even mentioned as one of his possible destinations. Yet somehow, they now look like the favorites to land the star forward in a deal with San Antonio.
On Monday’s episode of the “Lowe Post” podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explained to host Zach Lowe why the Raptors now lead the pack of Leonard’s suitors.
“I think (the Raptors are) in the driver’s seat for Kawhi because I think the Lakers have given up, the Sixers have given up,” Windhorst said. “And with the Nets, Bulls and Hawks spending their cap space, it makes it harder to assemble a multi-team trade. I think the Raptors are in the driver’s seat.”
Leonard originally had his heart set on playing in Los Angeles, per reports, but there also were rumors he didn’t want to play with LeBron James, who joined L.A. in free agency. And while the Philadelphia 76ers were believed to be the front-runners for Leonard in the Eastern Conference, they reportedly aren’t including Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz or Joel Embiid in any trade offer, which could be a deal-breaker for San Antonio.
That apparently leaves the Raptors, who likely would have to part with All-Stars DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry to acquire Leonard but may benefit from shaking things up after two consecutive second-round exits in the NBA playoffs.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images
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