Making sense of all the drama surrounding the Kawhi Leonard trade
NBA fans all around have waited on the edge of their seats watching the Kawhi Leonard drama unfold since he made his request to leave San Antonio. Many thought he was destined to head out to Boston or Los Angeles, but recent reports today suggest that may not be the case.
What We Know
First let’s start out with a surprise twist: Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Kawhi Leonard does indeed plan to attend Team USA training camp in Las Vegas coached by none other than Gregg Popovich. You can be sure the interested teams will be there to watch Kawhi in person, especially since his camp seems to be hiding him from everyone else.
The intended bidding war between Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles didn’t seem to pan out. Shortly after Kawhi had made his request, the Celtics and Lakers were the leading contenders for Kawhi Leonard’s services later joined by Philadelphia after their failed attempt to land LeBron James.
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The Spurs still seem stubborn to hang on to their high price for Kawhi, which is also causing Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia to steadily decrease their contacts with the Spurs as reported by Amico Hoops.
The decreased contact by the Celtics, Lakers and Sixers comes to a surprise to no one. The Lakers are operating with the same mindset as they did with Paul George last year as they are adamant they can land Kawhi in free agency in 2019. As for the Celtics and Sixers, they’re geared for the future and likely won’t deviate from their pick heavy offers for the Spurs star.
With the Sixers, Celtics and Lakers all decreasing their contacts with the Spurs, other teams are entering the fold. Adrian Wojnarowski also reports the Clippers, Suns, Raptors, Nuggets, Blazers and Wizards have had recent contacts with the Spurs for Kawhi. Each of these teams have one thing in common and that’s wanting to take a large risk to compete for a deep playoff run. Granted the West teams have a larger risk.
Kawhi Leonard comes with a huge risk anyways. His quad injury that caused him to miss a vast majority of last season is more than likely the bigger concern to interested teams compared to his current contract situation. Where will Kawhi end up? At this point your guess is as good as mine. But it seems for certain that he no longer wants to be a San Antonio Spur.
Today in the early hours of the morning, we saw Kawhi Leonard get traded to the Toronto Raptors along with Danny Green in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected first round pick.
Now what does this mean for the eastern conference and the Celtics? It means the race to the finals got a little more interesting. Emphasis on little.
Granted Toronto didn’t have to part with OG as previously reported, the Raptors roster a whole didn’t really change, and that’s assuming Kawhi suits up for the Raptors at all.
The eastern conference still runs through Boston but this trade shall make the top a little interesting.