Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in blockbuster deal


After six months of reports on Kawhi Leonard's discontent with the Toronto Raptors, it seems the drama between he and the San Antonio Spurs has ended.

Popovich knows that people will always want to hear about the conflict between him and Kawhi, but he's ready to focus on the new players the Spurs just got from the Raptors (DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl) and completely move on from the drama of the past.

That number is likely larger, but it's nonetheless notable for a sluggishly-moving situation for the Spurs, who have not received impressive-enough offers for their swingman with one year left on his contract and a reported expectation he would like to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the move, Masai Ujiri has changed the face of a Raptors team that has been a big-time performer in the regular season in recent years, but failed to meet postseason expectations.

In a since-deleted story he posted on his Instagram page, DeRozan wrote, "Be told one thing & the outcome another". "Can't trust em. Ain't no loyalty in this game".

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When the Raptors gave DeRozan a US$139-million contract before the 2016 season, it was an acknowledgement that they valued being a good team. "Soon you'll understand. Don't disturb", he said.

Leonard is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in July 2019.

COMING OFF INJURY - Leonard missed San Antonio's first 27 games last season with a right quadriceps injury, making his debut on December 12 against Dallas. Fred VanVleet can play both guard positions, and Danny Green is also going to be included in the deal. Hopefully that will inspire Leonard, who is reportedly not too thrilled by the trade. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich met with him in San Diego, but Leonard didn't budge from his position.

Just when baseball trade rumors started to heat up, the National Basketball Association comes in with arguably the biggest trade of the summer. The potential deal would bring Leonard, one of the NBA's top players when healthy, to Toronto and send an All-NBA and All-Star caliber player in DeRozan to the Spurs. 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. George and his agent have said publicly if the Thunder hadn't risked trading for him in 2017, Oklahoma City's chances at getting a free agency meeting with George would have been low.

A little more than 17 years ago, the Raptors pulled off what remains the greatest coup in franchise history, signing star wing Vince Carter to a six-year, $90 million contract extension that would keep him in Toronto.