There’s been another seismic shift in the NBA, and this time it finally appears the Eastern Conference will be the beneficiary.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Boston Celtics are fans of this deal.
Atlantic Division rival, the Toronto Raptors have reportedly traded for San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski early Wednesday morning.
While the deal will ultimately feature several other players, the principals of the deal are Leonard and 28-year-old, four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan.
San Antonio has agreed to trade Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN. Trade call with league office is beginning momentarily. https://t.co/6DZNdAs8BM
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 18, 2018
Leonard has been a huge question mark with his recent injuries and lack of activity. However, the two-way star has finished in the top 3 of MVP voting twice and remains just 27 years old.
Per Wojnarowski’s report: “Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is taking a significant risk in pursuing the trade. Ujiri will make the deal with a determination that he can sell Leonard on re-signing with the Raptors next summer in free agency, sources said. Toronto would be able to offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract next summer. If Leonard left the Raptors, he could sign a four-year, $141 million deal with a team with the available salary-cap space.”
DeRozan on the other hand had three years left on his contract, and Leonard had previously seemed only interested in Los Angeles in free agency.
The longtime Raptor averaged 23 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds last season. He shot at a 45.6/31/82.5 clip over 80 regular season games for first-place Toronto.
Leonard played in just nine games last season for San Antonio. However, in 2016-17, he averaged 25.5 points, 3.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds over 74 games. His career shooting clips are 49.5/38.6/81.6.
According to Wojnarowski, the Raptors will also land Danny Green as a part of this trade. The Spurs also receive Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.
CLNS Media will have more on this story as it develops today. In the meantime, hit us up on Twitter @CelticsCLNS and @CLNS_Walsh to let us know how you feel about Kawhi Leonard and Toronto becoming a bigger threat in the Eastern Conference.