Spurs Rumors: Raptors ‘in the driver’s seat’ for Kawhi Leonard
By Rob Wolkenbrod
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst affirmed the recent notion that the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors could work out a trade for Kawhi Leonard.
The Toronto Raptors were not part of the Kawhi Leonard mix until they “generated buzz” for the controversial San Antonio Spurs star. That’s while both Los Angeles teams, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers sat at the forefront of the situation.
Well, on a recent episode of The Lowe Post, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst affirmed this report and said Toronto is “in the driver’s seat” for Leonard. Zach Lowe added that it’s not a “joke” and, if anyone thinks that, “you should probably recalibrate your expectations” (h/t RealGM).
Windhorst also added how the Lakers and Sixers have “given up” on their Leonard pursuit. That’s despite the trade desire to go to Los Angeles.
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A trade with the Raptors could net the Spurs a package of DeMar DeRozan, a future first-round pick and one or two players from a group of OG Anunoby, Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam; These three hold value as young, affordable assets in Toronto’s frontcourt. DeRozan notably carries a contract that pays $27.7 million per year through the 2019-20 season (with a player option for 2020-21).
If the Lakers gave up, could they wait it out for the 2019 offseason? Leonard can opt out of his contract, whether it’s on the Spurs or Raptors, and go to the Purple and Gold in 12 months. That’s rather than giving up Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — young pieces towards the team’s future.
For the Sixers, they have a similar situation, albeit with pieces that are behind Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Any of Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric or Robert Covington could hold appeal in a trade package, but did San Antonio want too much from Philadelphia’s talent pool?
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If the Raptors are the frontrunner, then might a trade finally be on the way? With no reconciliation or supermax signing in sight, let’s see if this saga will reach its end.