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This Is Why The Toronto Raptors Are Able To Trade DeMar DeRozan

The center of the Toronto Raptors court.

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 16: The Toronto Raptors logo decal at center court before the game against the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

The Toronto Raptors are on the verge of trading for San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. The trade has been agreed to, it just needs to become official.

The major piece going back to San Antonio is Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is an All-Star who has played his entire career in Toronto.

He seems very unhappy with the news, and who can blame him? DeRozan has been with the franchise since 2009 and signed a big contract with them in 2016.

It is that contract, and when DeRozan signed it, that enabled the Raptors to be able to include him in this deal. If he had signed it one year later, a trade might not have been possible.

The reasoning is due to the league's no-trade clause. As Marc Stein of the New York Times notes, DeRozan couldn't get a no-trade clause included in his five-year, $139 million deal in 2016 because he had only played seven NBA seasons. Eight seasons is required to land a NTC.

It is crazy how one small detail can make all the difference. DeRozan might have been able to finish his career in Toronto if he had been able to ask for a NTC and the Raptors approved it.

Instead, he's on his way to San Antonio.