Kawhi Leonard traded to Raptors, as DeMar DeRozan to join Spurs

Kawhi Leonard

If they are unable to convince Leonard to stay and he leaves the Raptors after one season for the shiny shores of Los Angeles, then at least they have these contracts off of their books and can start fresh with a rebuild in 2019. He was a regular starter nearly right away and soon became an anchor on the team, which has made five straight playoff appearances but been unable to get to the NBA Finals.

The Raptors have never had a player quite like Kawhi Leonard before, assuming they have him now at all. Popovich, who is coaching Team USA in next year's FIBA World Cup in China and in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, will undoubtedly be there; whether the two players are, particularly in light of this trade potentially happening, remains to be seen.

DeRozan, a 28-year-old from Compton, Calif., posted some messages on his Instagram account early Wednesday morning that suggested he wasn't expecting to be dealt. Dwane Casey was the coach of the year who won 59 games and led the Raptors to the No. 1 seed in the East last season.

Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and two-time All Star

Popovich said he and Leonard spoke often this summer "about a lot of different things, on and off the court" but that no agreement could be reached that would keep him in San Antonio.

After weeks of speculation that tied the Lakers to the two-time All-Star, that largely subsided as the 2018 NBA Draft came and went and free agency began.

The details of the trade were still being worked out early Wednesday, but centered on Leonard and DeRozan. He averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the 2016-17 season.

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The Raptors would nearly certainly need another 50+-win season and a deep playoff run if they want to convince Leonard to stay. Like Leonard, Paul George listed the Los Angeles Lakers as his number one destination, but the Thunder ended up trading for him anyway.

Getty Kawhi Leonard is headed to Toronto.

Wojnarowski tweeted after the initial ESPN report that the "trade is larger on both sides, and players are still being informed of their inclusion in the deal".

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The report indicates that the Blazers' trade package did not include either of their star guards, Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum.

At 3:18 AM ET on Wednesday morning, Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania reported that a big-time blockbuster National Basketball Association trade is in the works. Despite a players-only meeting where he was asked by teammates to return to the lineup, he sat out the rest of the season.

Now we know exactly what he was referring to.

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