According to history, when sports teams trade, it must be balanced wherein each team benefits from the trade. That still rang true during the NBA blockbuster trade between San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday that involved Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. The balance is great with that one.
However, both principals are not amused.
Reports have surfaced that Leonard does not want to be traded off to Toronto, and on the flip side, DeRozan does not want to part ways with Toronto. He did, however, take to Instagram to express his feelings of betrayal towards the Raptors management. Basically, people are now calling it a match made in hell.
DeRozan wrote on his Instagram account, “Be told one thing & the outcome another… Can’t trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quickly for a little bit of nothing… Soon you’ll understand. Don’t disturb.”
Both the Raptors and the Spurs announced their trade shortly after noon on Wednesday on their respective websites. The agreement is that Toronto sends DeRozan (four-time All Star), Jakob Poeltl (Center), and a 2019 first-round pick to the Spurs in exchange for Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. The pick turns two second rounders in 2020 if Toronto needs to protect it. Both Green and Leonard are eligible to be free agents within this season, while DeRozan actually has 3 years left, and $83 million on contract. Based on this, Toronto seems to have all the advantage, if everything goes well.
According to one talent evaluator, “Kawhi is a better player than DeRozan so they get better.”
“Obviously, it’s a risk for Toronto if Leonard won’t stay. I’m sure they’ll recruit the hell out of him for next year. I guess their backdrop would be they get off DeRozan’s contract. If Toronto can keep him it’s a good deal for Toronto because they get the best player in the deal,” adds a rival NBA executive. “For San Antonio, they get a good player in DeRozan and Poeltl can play, too.”
DeRozan was reportedly assured by the management of the Raptors during the Summer League that he would not be traded. Several players have provided DeRozan support over social media.
Clippers’ Lou Williams tweeted, “I’m hurt. My dog gave that city and organization his heart and soul. He was loyal to the soil and got stabbed in the back.”
Knicks’ Enes Kanter also tweeted, “Mad respect for @DeMar DeRozan a classy player who has given his heart to a franchise… Giving you away for nothing.”
On the other side, Leonard has made it no secret that he wished to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. According to reports, Leonard “has no desire to play in Toronto.”
When asked about Kawhi Leonard, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, “Kawhi conducted himself wonderfully while he was here… We wish him well, but at this point, it is time to move on.” Popovich also dismissed reports that came out saying he and Leonard were feuding as “ridiculous”.