Spurs, Raptors closing in on deal for trade involving Leonard, DeRozan

Carrie Guzman
July 18, 2018

Toronto Raptors' guard DeMar DeRozan battles for the ball against San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard during a game in Toronto on December 9, 2015.

After landing Kawhi Leonard in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday and watching LeBron James leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Raptors have suddenly vaulted into Eastern Conference contention. After one year, it becomes two second-round picks.

Leonard and DeRozan are clearly the centerpieces of the deal, and it's been reported neither player is thrilled about being on the move to their new team.

Early morning Wednesday, DeRozan posted some vague messaging to his Instagram account that would suggest a trade could be imminent.

A player who withholds playing services called for by a Player Contract for more than thirty (30) days after the start of the last Season covered by his Player Contract shall be deemed not to have "complet his Player Contract by rendering the playing services called for thereunder".

Leonard has been clear that he plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency next summer.

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But it's a bone to chase at the same time. "Of course I believe in the players, and especially the new players", Pires told Sky Sports News .


Poeltl, a 22-year-old centre, averaged 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds as a key bench player for Toronto last season. If Leonard left the Raptors, he could sign a four-year, $141 million deal with a team with the available salary-cap space.

Presuming health, Leonard remains one of the best five players in the National Basketball Association, and arguably its best two-way player.

The deal is risky for Toronto because, depending on what happens next summer, the Raptors may have given up their top scorer, DeRozan, for a one-year rental on Leonard. He appeared in only nine games with the Spurs last season, and any doubt about whether there was a disconnect between him and the team was answered earlier this offseason when he asked for a trade.

During the 2016-17 season, he averaged a career-best 25.5 points and was third in the MVP voting. He signed a five-year deal in 2015 worth more than $90 million.

There are still a lot of complications here, namely that Leonard reportedly doesn't want to play in Toronto.

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