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5 winners of the Kawhi Leonard trade

19 July 2018

Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing.

Both teams announced the trade on their websites shortly after noon.

Oh, and if the deal falls through (like, because Leonard doesn't want to be there), it would be seem hard for DeRozan and the Raptors to work things out at this point. The team also boasts recent No. 2 picks Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, although both could conceivably be traded to add more veteran players around James. Under this rule, the Raptors could refuse to allow Leonard to leave until they see fit. "As I said, he was a hard worker all the time and we wish him well". San Antonio initially rebuked the Lakers' efforts to begin trade talks, then grew more receptive but with the caveat of asking for a significant haul in exchange for Leonard. He averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the 2016-17 season. Players provided support on social media.

Toronto dwarfs Oklahoma City in size, but their basketball organizations have parallels. "He was loyal to the soil and got stabbed in the back", Lou Williams, the Clippers' two-time NBA Sixth Man Award victor and ex-DeRozan teammate, tweeted. Someone I've respected and watched play for awhile now. "Giving you away for nothing", Knicks center Enes Kanter tweeted. The pairing of James and Leonard in Los Angeles could be the NBA's best chance at challenging coach Steve Kerr's Warriors for the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

There are still a lot of complications here, namely that Leonard reportedly doesn't want to play in Toronto.

This seems like a huge deterrent for Leonard, who is expected to cash in big-time during next summer's free agency period. Toronto would be able to offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract next summer. However, he played only nine games last season with a right quad injury. He can pick his spot after this season.

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The Raptors are rolling the dice Leonard is healthy and willing to re-sign to stay in Toronto beyond this season.

One additional wrinkle: Leonard, DeRozan and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich are all scheduled to be part of Team USA's minicamp next week in Las Vegas. Considering that Toronto traded an All-Star guard for him in DeRozan, this is a risky move.

"About two weeks ago, I sent him a picture when he was younger and he's dunking over somebody and his hair is all over, and it was kind of a hint like you know, you can keep doing this", Popovich said.

For Toronto, the move also makes coldhearted sense. It's a one-year shot with Ujiri having 11 months to convince Leonard this is the best place for his future.

Toronto is improved, but enough? Leonard is one of the top two-way players in the game, a reliable scorer and consistent candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

5 winners of the Kawhi Leonard trade