In the days leading up to the Kawhi Leonard trade, the San Antonio Spurs lowered their asking price.
The San Antonio Spurs settled on a trade package from the Toronto Raptors for Kawhi Leonard, with the acquisition of DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick. Danny Green will also go to Toronto.
The trade ended a months-long saga between Leonard and the Spurs, which centered on communication with a right quadriceps injury that took him off the court for all but nine games in the 2017-18 season. This ailment and just one year left on his contract impacted the open market value.
Despite that, San Antonio’s asking price was high, and that stalled talks with the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. This resulted in a lowered asking price for Leonard over the last four days before the deal with Toronto, and Lowe noted how this deal did not show much value for DeRozan, the main return.
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Teams just did not offer San Antonio compelling packages, including the pick-laden deal from the Celtics that left out the 2019 Sacramento pick. So, with an All-Star from the Raptors — even one who disappointed in multiple postseasons and is not considered a superstar — became the Silver and Black’s best bet.
The Spurs received Poeltl, as well, but not OG Anunoby, who flashed two-way upside as a wing player. The Austrian big man has a future in the NBA, but is not a bonafide starter and features limitations in his game against the quicker, three-point shooting teams, as Lowe also noted.
Now, the organization can move forward in a post-Leonard world and eye a return to 50-win seasons. Without Leonard, they hit 47 wins, the lowest franchise total since the 1996-97 season — the year before Tim Duncan’s arrival. In a packed Western Conference, the pressure will be on.