Spurs, Raptors agree to Kawhi-DeRozan trade

Raptors land Leonard from Spurs for DeRozan

Executive Masai Ujiri is moving forward with the trade with the determination to convince Leonard to resign with the Raptors when he becomes a free agent next summer. He was a regular starter nearly right away and soon became an anchor on the team, which has made five straight playoff appearances but been unable to get to the NBA Finals. According to Haynes, sources close to DeRozan have said that the Raptors brass met with their all-star guard in Las Vegas during Summer League and was told he would not be dealt.

Leonard played just nine games last season while battling a quad injury that proved to be a source of friction between him and the Spurs.

Raptors management has sacrificed the certainty of a very good team for a chance at being a great one.

DeRozan reacted in an Instagram posting early Wednesday, seeming to say the Raptors told him he wouldn't be sent to San Antonio in a Leonard swap only to have it happen. Leonard was entering the past year of his contract and had already made clear that he had no interest in re-signing with San Antonio.

Earlier this month, superstar LeBron James made a decision to sign in free agency with the Lakers. Now that Leonard is officially a member of the Toronto Raptors, the Raptors will begin a year-long recruiting pitch in an attempt to keep him in the north long-term.

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It was previously reported that Leonard informed other teams with trade interest that he would sign with the Lakers as a 2019 free agent. Since making his first of his four career All-Star berths in 2013-14, DeRozan has averaged 23.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in that span. But it will either take another leap from within their young core or a star player, perhaps Leonard, who is as dead set on living in Los Angeles as James was, for them to find another star. If the Raptors are intent on keeping Serge Ibaka in the lineup, they could experiment with Leonard playing the two. While the Spurs cleared him to play, Leonard never felt comfortable, and the gap between the two sides only seemed to widen.

Getty Kawhi Leonard is headed to Toronto.

They thought he would be ready to start last season. It is going to be very hard for the Raptors to sell the city of Toronto over Leonard's hometown Los Angeles.

Well, we still don't, but now at least we know what they weren't willing to part with for the disgruntled Spurs star.

Despite the acquisition of a superstar for the Raptors, every piece of analysis on the trade includes one major asterisk: "if he's healthy".

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