NBA Trade Rumors: Spurs Trade Kawhi Leonard To Raptors For Package Headlined By DeMar DeRozan
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs, Lakers
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

After decades of serving as the model franchise in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs have now been saddled by internal conflict in consecutive years. First, it was LaMarcus Aldridge who was unhappy, and now Kawhi Leonard became their latest disgruntled All-Star.

The relationship between Leonard and the Spurs began to fracture over a quadriceps injury that limited him to just nine games during the 2017-18 NBA season. Leonard left the team to continue with his rehab, even after Spurs doctors cleared him for a return.

The disconnect became more of an issue when Tony Parker and head coach Gregg Popovich made comments about Leonard’s injury, which he reportedly remains upset over. Popovich’s meeting with Leonard did little to back him off his preference of getting traded.

San Antonio reportedly listened to trade offers in the days and weeks that followed, but they did not actively shop the 26-year-old. The Los Angeles Lakers were among the teams with interest.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors in exchange for a package headlined by DeMar DeRozan:

By getting traded, Leonard is no longer eligible to receive the five-year, $219 million supermax contract extension. He’s entering the final year on his current deal. Toronto will be able to offer him a five-year, $190 million contract next summer.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri is aware of and embraces the challenge of convincing Leonard to re-sign as a 2019 free agent. The trade signals the end of eras for players on both teams.

Leonard averaged 16.2 points per game, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals in his limited action on the court this past season.

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