The Toronto Raptors are reportedly in the process of acquiring an elite NBA talent, but they might also be in the process of acquiring a headache.
The Raptors and San Antonio Spurs are close to finalizing a trade that would send Kawhi Leonard to Toronto, according to an ESPN report Wednesday morning.
Despite reportedly paying a heavy price — DeMar DeRozan is said to be headed to San Antonio — Leonard should improve a division-winning Raptors team that won 59 games last season. However, Leonard doesn’t seem particularly keen about joining the Raptors, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
Of course, Leonard is under contract and doesn’t have a no-trade clause, so it’s technically out of his hands. But as the Spurs learned last season, when Leonard doesn’t want to — or says he can’t — play, he won’t play. He reportedly demanded a trade out from the Spurs earlier this summer, too.
He could theoretically do the same with the Raptors, which would be all kinds of awkward and borderline petty. Leonard has financial incentive to play this season, but he can become a free agent next summer, and it doesn’t sound like anything he does — or doesn’t do — in the next year will temper his market at all.
Then there’s also this: According to reports, DeRozan doesn’t want to play in San Antonio, either.
Thumbnail photo via Jan 3, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball over Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll (5) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports