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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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.
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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|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+550|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+3850|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+8500|
|San Antonio Spurs||+8500|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+23500|
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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