Kawhi Leonard could be playing for the Toronto Raptors in 2018-19. The Eastern Conference power has emerged as one of the favorites to land the All-Star forward. The sportsbooks have Toronto as the betting favorite to land him via a trade.
ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst thinks it’s possible. He appeared on SportsNet and discussed the potential trade.
“The Raptors are definitely a team a lot of executives out there feel are fertile to make a trade,” Windhorst said. “They have a horde of young, good prospects on their rookie contracts, which is what you want if you’re a team starting a rebuild. Second, they might see a window here in the East.”
“The third reason is because, if the 76ers . and Celtics are not going to give away their prized young prospects. For example, if Jaylen Brown is not on the table, if Markelle Fultz is not on the table, if Ben Simmons is not on the table, the Raptors have less of a burden to overcome.”
“I definitely think if the Spurs decide to trade Kawhi, and that’s an important thing, I don’t think they’re there yet…but if they do get there, they’re absolutely going to talk to the Raptors.”
If the trade does happen, what would it look like? ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe outlined the possibility in a recent column:
The most logical all-in play on the board is Toronto offering DeRozan, one of Pascal Siakam, Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, and OG Anunoby, and a future first-round pick. Upgrade from DeRozan to Leonard, and the Drakes have a real shot to make the NBA Finals. Maybe Leonard would love Toronto, and enjoy playing in May and June in front of that nutty crowd.
If Leonard walks, the damage isn’t so severe. After this season, DeRozan will either opt in to $27.7 million or enter free agency seeking a mega-contract as he turns 30. But DeRozan is really good, Leonard is a huge flight risk, and my hunch is the Spurs would demand too much future stuff for Toronto’s taste (if the it has any interest in the first place).
What do you think, Raptors fans? Would you pull the trigger?