Breaking down the Spurs-Raptors blockbuster trade

Kawhi Leonard could be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers next summer

GETTYKawhi Leonard could be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers next summer

The rumoured deal between the teams became a reality early Wednesday, with the Raptors shipping DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick to the Spurs in return for the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and veteran Danny Green. He's been here quite a while and was a big part of what we do on and off the court. Hence, they just got a lot better.

Despite his shortcomings, and his inconsistent playoff performances, it was always going to be hard for Raptors fans to say goodbye, even if it meant Leonard was coming the other way. That's no disrespect to San Antonio - the Spurs are a model franchise and Gregg Popovich is a coach nearly anyone would want to play for - but DeRozan rather would have stayed in Toronto.

The Spurs opened on the 2019 National Basketball Association championship odds at a solid +3000, but bold free agent moves by Western rivals, including the Los Angeles Lakers' signing of LeBron James, along with the departure of veteran leader Tony Parker for Charlotte via free agency, have taken their toll on the squad. I think he's gonna be great.

Two years ago, no one would have considered making the argument that DeRozan is a more valuable player than Leonard. Even with Leonard, Toronto might not make the Finals. We wish him all the best as he moves on to Toronto. Philadelphia did, too. But Toronto, to its credit, saw no reason why it shouldn't be bold this summer.

Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors
GETTYKawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors

Just last season, the Raptors were the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with 59 wins, but could do absolutely nothing when a man named LeBron James came to town and swept them out of the playoffs for the 2nd straight year.

The Raptors are really good. Due $20.09 million this season, he already declined a five-year, $219 million super-max extension from the Spurs. But they know they're not good enough to win a title, and while they stopped short of blowing up the team they sure gave the foundation a couple of good thwacks with a wrecking ball in dumping Casey and trading DeRozan. I guess their backdrop would be they get off DeRozan's contract.

That's a player worth the risk.

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