After months of reported drama between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs, the franchise has finally given into the superstar's trade request – but not completely.
Leonard asked the franchise
to trade him last month, preferably to a Los Angeles team. Except the Spurs never had any intention to trade him to another West Conference team, and especially not after the Lakers signed LeBron James.
During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Coach Gregg Popovich said Leonard was a hard worker but said "it's time to move on."
As of Wednesday, the Spurs have granted Leonard's wish to be traded. The franchise is finalizing a deal with the Toronto Raptors. That deal reportedly includes trading Danny Green to Toronto as well.
Still, a lot remains up in the air. Although the Raptors were considered the favorites to acquire Leonard in the last few days, details of the trade package are not yet secure. Per ESPN, the trade
includes All-Star DeMar DeRozan. Both Leonard and DeRozan are reportedly aware of the deal, and neither one is happy
about the imminent trade, according to league sources.
DeRozan has reason to be mad since he reportedly met with the team's executives during summer league and was told he wouldn't be traded. He voiced his frustration on his Instagram Wednesday morning with this message: "Be told one thing & the outcome another. Can't trust em. Ain't no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing... Soon you'll understand... Don't disturb..."
Toronto is determined to make the trade worth their while. Executive Masai Ujiri is moving forward with the trade with the determination to convince Leonard
to resign with the Raptors when he becomes a free agent next summer. But Leonard has already said that no matter where he ends up for this upcoming season, he's making his way to Los Angeles no matter what. Both the Lakers and Clippers expressed interest in Leonard this season, but could not come to an agreement with the Spurs.
The trade brings the end of year-long saga between Leonard and the Spurs. Following Leonard's injury in the 2016-2017 playoffs, he only played nine games in the 2017-2018 season. He opted not to suit up even though he was medically cleared by Spurs staff and was even kept away from executives. Then, Tony Parker called out Leonard, saying his own injury was far worse but he was all healed. That was allegedly the tipping point for Leonard.
Now Leonard is finally getting traded and nobody is getting what they wanted.
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