Add the Toronto Raptors as the latest suitor for San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, according to a report.
Both Los Angeles teams, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers are the teams most often mentioned as potential suitors for San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. However, could another join this group and make a run?
According to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, the Toronto Raptors recently “generated buzz” for Leonard. Bontemps speculated on Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri’s potential willingness to attach DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry to a trade package.
In hindsight, DeRozan or Lowry’s talents might sound appealing, but their contracts would absorb most of the Silver and Black’s available space; DeRozan is owed $27.7 million in 2018-19 and Lowry will receive $31 million. Both are under contract through 2019-20.
Outside of either player, though, anyone the Spurs take on, that can match Leonard’s figure, can hit free agency after the 2018-19 season (Jonas Valunciunas). That’s unless they take on Norman Powell and his four-year extension that kicks in this fall, C.J. Miles and his one year (plus a player option), or Fred VanVleet while trying to scoop up OG Anunoby and picks.
A trade probably makes more sense somewhere else, whether it’s any of the aforementioned suitors for Leonard. All of them can offer young, affordable talent and most own draft picks that hold value (Boston has Sacramento’s 2019 first-round pick; Philadelphia owns Miami’s 2021 first-round pick). The Raptors do not have this at their disposal.
Maybe another unique suitor arises and joins the Leonard trade talks, especially as the situation drags and none of the rumored teams bite on San Antonio’s demands. Will the Raptors take a chance? Could it be someone, like, the New York Knicks — another big-market franchise? Either way, this saga is hardly over for everyone involved.