UPDATE (1 p.m. ET): It’s official: Kawhi Leonard no longer is a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
Here are the details of Leonard’s trade to the Toronto Raptors, which San Antonio announced Wednesday afternoon:
ORIGINAL STORY: We have a winner in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, and it’s quite far from Los Angeles.
The Spurs and Raptors have agreed to a trade that will send Leonard to Toronto and All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Haynes reported early Wednesday morning, citing league sources.
Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania was the first to report the deal may be imminent, noting that other players will be involved in the trade and only a “snag in final discussions” could prevent the trade from going through.
Interestingly enough, Leonard and DeRozan both are aware of the trade, according to ESPN, but “neither is expressing enthusiasm” over the blockbuster that would shake up both franchises.
That’s understandable from Leonard’s perspective; the two-time All-Star forward reportedly had his sights set on the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers when he demanded a trade from San Antonio earlier this offseason. Leonard will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season, and Toronto faces a tall task in convincing the 27-year-old L.A. native to re-sign with the Raptors instead of bolting for Southern California.
Still, Toronto should be a serious contender in the Eastern Conference along with the Boston Celtics if Leonard is able to stay healthy. The Spurs, meanwhile, are ridding themselves of the Leonard drama that swirled all last season while adding a proven scorer in DeRozan who has averaged at least 20 points per game in each of the last five seasons.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images