Kawhi Leonard traded to Raptors, Spurs get DeMar DeRozan

In a blockbuster trade, the San Antonio Spurs have sent Kawhi Leonard along with Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poetl and 2019 protected first-round pick. Where Kawhi was going was considered the last major piece to fall in this NBA offseason and he ended up in Toronto of all places.

He is reportedly not too happy about ending up in Toronto which makes Toronto fans not too happy about losing a loyal guy for him, but you have to think about this one logically. The Raps traded a guy who is a perennial playoff choker for an NBA FINALS MVP. How is that not considered a win? With Kawhi set to hit free agency this summer, there is risk involved, but they have a better chance to win the East this year (especially with LeBron James in LA) than they’ve had in years.

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No matter how unhappy Kawhi is about Toronto, he needs to play and he needs to play well. There is a lot of money in his future if he puts up a great season, but after the way last season went down he can’t afford to have an off year this year. He’s a max player if he returns to form and the Raptors will be a very good team if he is.

The Spurs are interesting. They won 47 games last year and that was without Kawhi for most of the year. Replacing him with DeRozan is an interesting play, but he’s proven durable and adding an All-Star to that team that won 47 games should keep them in the hunt in the East. He should pair well with LaMarcus Aldridge, although that might be the most boring offensive team to watch. The defense will be very good again and the Spurs staff could develop Poetl into something very nice.

A win-win for both teams here even if the players involved aren’t exactly happy about the moves. This is a tough league and it’s continually shown that the loyalty just isn’t there. This is why players choose their own destiny. DeRozan would’ve loved to retire in Toronto, but he won’t get that chance now. That hurts for him and just further proves that this is still a business.

An updated look at the Eastern Conference Betting Odds now that the trade has went down.

NBA Eastern Conference Championship
Boston Celtics -122
Philadelphia 76ers +325
Toronto Raptors +510
Indiana Pacers +2600
Milwaukee Bucks +2600
Washington Wizards +2850

The Raptors are actually a pretty good bet there. I think they match-up well with any of the top five if Leonard is healthy. I think he could give real problems to Gordon Hayward or Jayson Tatum of the Celtics, or Ben Simmons of the 76ers. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks could be a problem though.

In the West, the odds now look like this:

NBA   Western Conference
Sun 10/28  12:00PM
Golden State Warriors -218
Houston Rockets +525
Los Angeles Lakers +550
Oklahoma City Thunder +3850
Utah Jazz +6000
New Orleans Pelicans +8500
Portland Trailblazers +8500
San Antonio Spurs +8500
Denver Nuggets +11500
Dallas Mavericks +12000
Minnesota Timberwolves +12000
Los Angeles Clippers +23500
Memphis Grizzlies +35000

This is the Warriors conference to lose, but these odds have the Spurs tagged around an 8 seed? I highly doubt that. The Grizzlies have terrible odds which is weird considering they are getting Mike Conley and Marc Gasol back healthy, but that’s a story for another time.

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