The Kawhi Leonard trade likely makes the Toronto Raptors a good deal better, but it is not the most popular move. The team shipped out DeMar DeRozan, likely the most accomplished player in franchise history.
Players usually handle these things relatively well. How many times have we heard some version of "it's a business" after a deal like this?
The DeRozan deal seems a bit different. The star shooting guard alleges that he was told by general manager Masai Ujiri that he would not be dealt. Ujiri went on to apologize during his press conference after the deal, but it doesn't sound like it had the desired impact.
The Raptors have caught heat from other players over how they handled the DeMar DeRozan-Kawhi Leonard trade.
One 10-year NBA veteran thinks it could have a negative impact on the Raptors' ability to sign top free agents going forward.
Anthony Morrow played in the league from 2008-2017. He was last a member of the Chicago Bulls.
It is unclear if he has any personal connection to DeRozan. He never played for Toronto. However, he made the point on Twitter after the trade went down.
We'll have to wait and see if this concern plays itself out moving forward. What's clear: for whatever reason, Toronto has not been a destination for top free agents throughout its history.
Once star players like DeRozan and Kyle Lowry end up there, many seem to fall in love with it. However, the team has struggled to be a player in major free agency, and years ago, couldn't hold onto stars like Vince Carter or Chris Bosh.
Gambling on the addition of a talent like Leonard is a hard move to knock. It does seem like Ujiri could have handled the DeRozan situation more elegantly though, given what he has meant to the team as a nine-year veteran, four-time All-Star, and All-NBA team performer.