The Toronto Raptors rolled the dice Wednesday, reportedly agreeing to trade for San Antonio Spurs forwards Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.
Leonard reportedly preferred to be traded to one of the Los Angeles teams, the Lakers or Clippers, and ESPN’s Chris Haynes, citing a source, reported Wednesday that the 2014 NBA Finals MVP “has no desire” to play in Toronto.
TNT’s David Aldridge furthered that belief with the following tweet Wednesday:
This hardly is a surprise.
The Raptors, even with Leonard, are the third-best team in the Eastern Conference behind the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, and they’re not a true championship contender.
They don’t have any young stars ready to emerge, and their second-best player, Kyle Lowry, consistently fails to perform at a high level in the playoffs and already is 32 years old.
The Raptors might be better off selling Leonard at the trade deadline to jumpstart their rebuild. Sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to convince Paul George to re-sign despite constant rumors saying he wanted to play in Los Angeles. But the Thunder have Russell Westbrook — a superstar and MVP winner — for George to play alongside. No such player exists in Toronto.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images