SA Spurs: Ranking 4 events that altered the team's direction

Demar Derozan, Kawhi Leonard - Toronto Raptors v San Antonio Spurs
Demar Derozan, Kawhi Leonard - Toronto Raptors v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard - 2019 NBA Finals - Game Five / Pool/Getty Images

2. The Kawhi Leonard trade

Entering the 2017-2018 season, there were hopes that the Spurs could continue their streak of consecutive 60-win seasons and make it to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go that way.

Instead, Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season and ultimately played just 8 games overall due to his enigmatic leg injury. His prolonged time away from the team, and the lack of communication on his part, turned out to be an early sign of a growing rift and later resulted in him requesting a trade.

Leonard was ultimately traded to the Toronto Raptors, along with Danny Green, for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a future first-round pick (that later turned into Keldon Johnson). Johnson and Poeltl have both emerged as long-term starters while San Antonio later traded DeRozan for Al Farouq Aminu, Thaddeus Young, and three picks, including a future first-rounder.

Considering that the Spurs can potentially flip Young for another future first-round pick or other assets, this helped to recoup some of the value that the team initially lost out on in the Leonard trade. Overall, the Leonard trade drastically altered the direction of the team and the trade could continue to alter the team’s future.