With the Las Vegas Summer League now wrapped up and NBA free agency largely at a crawl, the biggest storyline until training camps across the league open is the ongoing saga between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs.
Leonard is coming off a season in which he appeared in just nine games due to a mysterious quadriceps injury that he seemingly never truly recovered from. It became the source of some friction between Leonard and the Spurs as he left the team to continue with the rehab process.
San Antonio doctors cleared Leonard to return but he didn’t feel healthy enough to continue playing, which led to critical remarks from those within the organization. In turn, that reportedly pushed Leonard to requesting a trade.
It’s believed Leonard’s preference is being sent to the Los Angeles Lakers, which has created a situation similar to what Paul George and the Indiana Pacers faced last summer.
While the Lakers have been among the teams to engage the Spurs in trade talks, those conversations were recently said to have largely fallen off. Now, the Spurs and Toronto Raptors are discussing a trade involving Leonard and DeMar DeRozan, per Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports:
San Antonio and Toronto are engaged in serious talks on a trade centered on Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 18, 2018
An oddsmaker curiously vaulted the Raptors up the list of favorites to trade for Leonard, but the likelihood of a potential deal coming to fruition was largely dismissed.
That Toronto is exploring parting with a franchise cornerstone in DeRozan doesn’t come as much of a surprise. A report in May suggested the Raptors would look to move DeRozan or Kyle Lowry this offseason.
The duo have led the most successful stretch in franchise history but it’s also been a period that’s seen multiple flameouts in the playoffs. Most notably this year, when the Raptors earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time.
If Toronto does move ahead with a trade for Leonard, they run the risk of breaking up their roster for what could amount to nothing more than a one-year rental. Though, the same was though of George, and he re-signed with Oklahoma City.
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