The San Antonio Spurs have agree to trade Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick,. Leonard just went from the Penthouse of the NBA, to the outhouse. Every year the Spurs have a chance to compete for the NBA Championship and the Raptors don’t. One of the reasons,”Big-Time” free agents don’t want to sign in Toronto? they pay a lot more in taxes.
When Kyle Lowry was traded back in 2012 from the Houston Rockets, not only did he have to move out of the no tax state of Texas, but now he was required to pay Canadian and US taxes and file a Canadian tax return. Financially, and on the court this is a terrible trade for Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors are getting Leonard for 1-year. ESPN reported that Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, as his preferred destination is Los Angeles. Leonard has one year and a player option left on his current deal and is set to make $20.1 million in 2018–19. He still qualifies for a five-year, $219 super-max contract. There is no way, the former San Diego State star, will be in Canada next season.
The question here is what percentage of effort are the Raptors getting from Leonard? When healthy he is one of the best two-way players in basketball. He has won the Defensive Player of the Year award twice, been named to the first-team All-NBA twice and took home the Finals MVP after the Spurs beat the Miami Heat in five games in 2014. In 2016-17, Leonard had his best season, averaging 25.5 points per game and shot 52% from the floor and 88% from the free throw line.
The Spurs will now have a legitimate scorer in DeRozan. Over the last three years, the Raptors star has averaged 23, 27 and 23 points per game. Under head coach Gregg Popovich, DeRozan will thrive.
In the 1972 movie, The Godfather, Micheal Corleone says, ““Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever.”
Something tells me the Spurs organization sending Leonard to Toronoto is exactly the same message. Kawhi became a huge distraction and this is the ultimate revenge. The Spurs sent him to the last place in the world he wanted to go. In return, San Antonio got a 4-time All-Star.
The Spurs won this round, big time. Would you expect anything less from this organization? There is a reason SA has won 50 games or more 18 out of the last 19 years, they know what they are doing.
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