This morning (July 18, 2018), I woke up and my phone had texts, DMs, messages from friends and my followers asking me about the Spurs-Raptors trade, which involves Spurs Kawhi Leonard & Raptors DeMar DeRozan and other side pieces, I needed to digest to find out who are the players being involved in the trade.
At first, I heard the rumours that the Raptors were given up prized young players such as OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and possible 1st round draft picks. My 1st reaction was..(if that’s the case), we gave up too much for Leonard.
But after reading the tweets as 1st posted by Adrian Wojnarowski, I think it’s a fair trade for both teams. In fact, I am happy with the trade and Raptors actually did a good job with the trade. If Adrian’s report is correct, we traded for Leonard without giving up OG, Siakam and any of the 2nd rotation player, other than Jakob Poeltl (which is replaceable).
Spurs have agree to trade Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN. Trade call with league office is starting shortly.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 18, 2018
Here is the breakdown of the Spurs-Raptors trade:
Receives: Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green
San Antonio Spurs:
Receives: DeMar DeRozan; Jakob Poeltl + a protected 2019 1st round pick
MoVernie Reaction: Am I surprised about this Spurs-Raptors trade? Totally. Although the casino booker said the Raptors have the best odds of landing Kawhi (really not sure how they would know, but good for them). I am surprised coz Leonard publicly said he wants to go to the LA Lakers. Also, Celtics and 76ers were the ones that have the best assets to trade for Leonard. Also, why would Toronto wants to trade for Kawhi for only 1 year of his service while giving up DeMar and other pieces?
After analyzing this trade, I think it’s a fair trade between both the Spurs and the Raptors. Both got what they wanted. In particular, I think the Raptors did a great job with this trade. Toronto is able to get an all-star and a defensive specialist in Kawhi Leonard. Plus, they got a veteran in Danny Green, who is a great locker room guy, a leader and a 3pter specialist and with playoff and championship experience. Green is the type of reliable 3pter specialist that we need on our team. Although Green is getting older and his 3pter is not where he used to be, he is still a proven good player. He is like Kyle Korver type of player.
As for the Spurs, they got an all-star in DeMar DeRozan, who is a proven scorer, he will play well under the Spurs system and he can complement with LaMarcus Aldridge. Additionally, Spurs have a young Jakob Poeltl who may be ready to be the starting centre or a good 2nd rotation player with potential. And a protected 1st round pick from the Raptors. When the Leonard situation is getting ugly and the hands are tied, I think the Spurs did a good job of trying to get as much return as they can, which I think they did in this case.
Why Raptors Masai Uriji pulls the trigger?
After firing Dwane Casey and basically hired Nick Nurse (technically Dwane Casey 2.0 in my opinion), moving forward, every move, whether it’s good or bad moves, it’s on Masai. I personally think Masai messed up by rehiring Nick Nurse (what we need is a new voice, but that’s another day to discuss). As Masai is looking at his roster, are the Raptors any better with the same squad moving in the new NBA season? With or without Lebron James in the Eastern Conference (now with the LA Lakers), Masai knows his team is not good enough to beat the Celtics and the 76ers, Masai knows he got to do something. Even the fans know DeMar DeRozan is a good regular season stats type of player, but when in the playoffs, for whatever the reason, we don’t know what type of performance we are getting from DeRozan. Hence this trade by Masai. I think this is Masai’s logic. He signed Lowry, Ibaka, DeRozan to 3-year deal that basically all contracts end in 2 more seasons. By trading for Leonard, there is a breath of fresh air, a new team, new squad, new look, new coach, let’s see if this trade can elevate the Raptors to go deeper into the playoffs, or NBA Finals or win the whole thing, the East is wide open, anything is possible. I think Masai is taking a “Go Home or Go BIG” approach. Big risk, high rewards. If Lowry, Ibaka, DeRozan experiments aren’t going to go far even at the completion of their contracts, may as well try something new. If the Leonard trade doesn’t work, Masai is going to rebuild in 2 years anyway, may as well start the rebuild sooner.
Masai has lots of options:
- By trading Leonard, Masai hopes Leonard will rejuvenate his all-star and defensive status to help elevate the Raptors team to the next level this year.
- If Leonard is playing well, perhaps Masai will trade Leonard during the trading deadline and get another all-star with a longer contract in return plus some draft picks.
- If Leonard plays well, Raptors may want to sign Leonard to a max contract, just like Paul George did when OKC Thunder traded for Paul George and George loves OKC so much that he decided to stay with OKC. Even he admitted that he was planning to sign with the Lakers when he was still with the Pacers but the experience he got in OKC was so great that he wants to play for OKC. From George’s situation, we learned that anything is possible.
- If Leonard trade fails, Masai can still trade him during the trading deadline to cut the loss and get something in return.
- If all things fail, Raptors start a rebuild.
Overall, in my MoVernie opinion, this is a fair trade between both the Spurs and the Raptors. Both DeRozan and Leonard just need a change of scenery and they both got it. Leonard will get a fresh start with the Raptors to get back on track and showcase his all-star and defensive skills. Whether he stays with the Raptors long term or not, this is a free agent year that Kawhi needs to show he is still a super star player. This will only help Toronto to get his stock up and then decide what to do with him. Although there is still a concern of Kawhi’s health, but Raptors have nothing to lose coz they don’t commit to Leonard after this year. As for DeRozan, he is a great regular season stats player but just can’t go through the hump. He is also a loyal and a class act guy in the locker room, to his fans (I seen him many times, a good guy) and his contributions to the communities. His love for Toronto is off the charts. But I am happy for DeMar that he finally gets to play for an experienced, championship coach in Greg Popovich that knows how to use him. Greg Popovich will know how to maximize DeRozan’s potential to the next level.
To the Raptorsfans, if you ever watch DeRozan in a Spurs uniform and said, “Damn! DeMar is this good? How come he never did that with the Raptors?” Coz he lacks a good experienced coach to guide him to the next level. Now he does. We do hope that Nick Nurse can bring out the best in Leonard, but again, Raptors never have experienced good coaches, we always hire assistant coaches who are unproven coz they are way cheaper to hire as coach.
As Raptorsfans, I am happy, no one knows whether this trade works for the Raptors or not, but at least, we have something to be excited for. Instead of paying expensive ticket prices to watch the same shit over and over again with Lowry, DeRozan and Ibaka, we get to see how Lowry and Leonard going to play out, there is new life, new breath of fresh air. I am now very excited to want to watch the Raptors game again!
Raptorsfans, what’s are your thoughts? Tell me, I want to hear what you think!
And MoVernie is outta here!