ANALYSIS NBA

Analyzing the Kawhi Leonard/DeMar DeRozan Trade

The San Antonio Spurs have sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan.

The San Antonio Spurs have sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan.

If you are reading this, its too late

That tweet happened in the middle of the night and by the morning the trade was done. The Spurs sent Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 1st round pick (the pick is 1-20 protected). Did one team steal the trade or did it work out for both sides?

Raptors

This was huge risk to take but a necessary one. Raptors finished as the top seeded team in the East only to get swept in semi-finals by LeBron James and the Cavs. Via Basketball Reference, the Raptors were top 5 in offensive (2nd) and defensive rating (5th). They also had one of the best benches in the NBA. One would think the Raptors would have to break something up by getting Kawhi. That didn’t happen. Raptors still have OG Anunoby, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet and CJ Miles. Your potential starting 5 could look like:

Kyle Lowry
Danny Green
Kawhi Leonard
Serge Ibaka
Jonas Valanciunas

With a lethal bench to compliment, the Raptors are a problem. If Kawhi is healthy, this team has the potential to be better than 76ers and could give the Celtics a run for their money. The East just got interesting.

Spurs

What do you do when you have a disgruntled superstar but no serious offers from a team that he wanted to go to? You get very creative. Spurs still got an all-star in DeRozan. I think Coach Popovich and a very motivated DeMar DeRozan can be very interesting. DeMar DeRozan loved the midrange game and now, he can be even more efficient with it in the Spurs system. With a group of LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, Spurs can get creative with the lineups. You can expect see them end the game with Aldridge playing the 5 and DeRozan/Gay being interchangeable wings can guard positions 2-4. Also with Coach Pop, he will maximize your talents so expect DeMar DeRozan to have another good year. DeRozan could be very efficient and improve on defense. DeMar DeRozan is not Kawhi Leonard but he is no slouch either. Let’s not forget that the Spurs has DeRozan under contract until 2021. Spurs have time to make it all work with Aldridge and DeRozan.

I think the trade works well on both sides. Raptors have a shot to keep Kawhi and if it doesn’t work out, it is a salary dump essentially. Raptors won’t have to be in luxury tax hell. Spurs got something back and it was not of equal value but it is something Spurs can build around. If we all know anything, it is to NEVER write off the Spurs.

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