In the NBA, the offseason rarely reaches a slowdown. Such was the case Wednesday as the Toronto Raptors acquired superstar San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard in exchange for perennial All-Star DeMar DeRozan.
It is also rare that teams are able to pull off a trade that involves All-Stars changing places. The full deal, according to ESPN, breaks down as follows:
Raptors receive Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green
Spurs receive DeMar DeRozan, Jakon Poeltl, protected first-round draft pick
There is a tremendous risk in the deal for Toronto, as both Leonard and Green become free agents after the 2018-19 season. However, the team had already reached its full potential, and a trade of his magnitude allows the Raptors to remain ultra-competitive next season while retaining financial flexibility for the future.
DeRozan is set to earn nearly $28 million per year through the 2020-21 season.
For the Spurs, they add an All-Star to a group that was still able to remain in contention in a difficult Western Conference. Leonard only appeared in nine games, so DeRozan should add to the organization’s core. Poeltl also proved to be a capable–and promising–backup center in Toronto last season.
While reports state that Leonard is not happily joining the Raptors–as he initially wanted to head to Los Angeles–Toronto has the ability to re-sign him to a 5-year, $190 million extension following the 2018-19 campaign. He is eligible to sign a 4-year, $141 million elsewhere.
Reports have indicated that Leonard’s preferred destination is the Los Angeles Lakers.
Keep it here on AXS.com for more NBA news and tickets to select games.