By RahimAli Merchant
Did you ever imagine waking up on a warm summer Wednesday morning to find out two of the NBA’s top players will be swapping teams?
By now I’m sure you’ve found out Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan have been traded for each other and a bit more. I’m not here to give you the breaking news of the trade, but I will tell you how this benefits both the players and teams.
If you’ve been sleeping under a rock all summer long, you probably missed the fact that Kawhi Leonard didn’t want to play in San Antonio anymore. He asked for a trade out of San Antonio, but let’s keep in mind that he’ll be a free agent at the end of 2018-19 season (more on this later).
There were several teams who wanted in on the Spurs trade, including young teams with a lot to give up like the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. None of those teams ended up taking the risk of Leonard wanting to leave after just one season with the team.
For Toronto, it was a simple. They finished top three in each of the last four seasons, but could never beat LeBron James in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Then again, nobody could. The Raptors knew it was time to make a change and they did just that by trading DeMar DeRozan and his 3-year, $83.2 million deal.
You could say it’s a salary dump move by the Raptors, but it is also a move that needed to be done. The North had to change things, and having Kawhi Leonard for one season means the Raptors have entered themselves into the free agency sweepstakes next summer.
Of course we expect to see the Raptors be competitive, but maybe Kawhi will have Drake in his feelings. Kiki was also suppose to be Kawhi, but does he love him and is he riding? We’ll have to wait and see if Kawhi will resign with the Toronto Raptors for the future, but come on, who doesn’t love Drake?
DeRozan himself is in a good position. The Spurs are always competitive regardless of what super teams are in the West. If they actually had Leonard playing, they might have had a different path in the playoffs. Now they have DeRozan, and he won’t be held back by anyone expect himself.
With all these shake-ups in the NBA, I’m just ready for the season to start already. How about you?