Toronto Raptors Trade DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard

Whoa. While we slept, Masai Ujiri reached agreement in principle to acquire San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard for a package that includes DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan was told last night, and the other parts of the deal are unknown at the moment I'm typing these words.

DeMar DeRozan is the greatest Toronto Raptor of all time. It's been an absolute pleasure watching his progress these past nine years, and when Chris Bosh left for Miami, he said this:

And got us he did. He's got the record for most points as a Raptor, most points in a game, and gave us plenty of moments like this:

Kawhi Leonard is the better player, but he's heading to the Lakers after this season, right? And he's said he has no interest in playing for the Raptors.

I just hope Masai Ujiri knows what he's doing. I have great concerns about this trade, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, until there's no doubt...

Update:

We have the final details. The Toronto Raptors have agreed to trade DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 protected first-rounder to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.


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Comments (21 - click here to join in!)

McNulty

I am really not happy about this.

I am just stunned. I don't get the reasoning.

July 18, 2018 @ 8:59 AM

Al The Royal Pain

I hope Masai knows what he's doing. I hate to see Derozan leave, he has represented the Raptors and Toronto well, and if what you wrote (what I've heard from other sources) is accurate, we're getting player in return that doesn't want to be here and will bolt in a year. He may be a better player, but will he be a better Raptor?

The sheen on Masai is beginning to wear with some questionable recent decisions. Again, I hope he knows what he's doing.

July 18, 2018 @ 9:13 AM

bsmntdwllr73

No sports expert by anyone's definition, but I predict the next person out the door when this
blows up in his face is the general manager who pulled the plug on this seemingly senseless
trade. Sorry for your loss, Raptors Fans!!

July 18, 2018 @ 9:14 AM

jj

Honestly, F Masai. Worst decision ever, and we'll pay for it. DeMar however, may make it further than he ever has as a Raptor, and that is a small silver lining.

July 18, 2018 @ 9:39 AM

Patrick

Can't help but feel that the Raptors think they need to shake things up on the bench as well as the coaching ranks. Also feels like a hail mary by a front office who knows their time is coming to an end, much akin to what Alex did with the Blue Jays when he was on the hot seat.

On the other hand, with most trades like this you need to give up something to get something though I'm worried that this something isn't worth what the Raptors gave up.

July 18, 2018 @ 11:12 AM

Tron

You got to love that raptors media, once again being the only one in the entire world who thinks this was a good trade for the Raptors. Wow never change Rapmedia


Everyone saying the Spurs robbed the Raptors. Kawhi wants out of SA, only wants to play in sunny LA, might have site the season out and in exchange you give away not just a loyal player but an all-star and possibly your best player on your roster + we give the Spurs a first round pick for a guy that had no trade value who the Spurs were desperate to get rid of.

Jones just spewed his Raptor pom poms saying if Kawhi doesn't sign here, it's still good as we are rebuilding (of course ignoring we are giving up first round draft picks)

July 18, 2018 @ 11:13 AM

jj

Patrick - gotta say I agree with you, that I won't be surprised if Masai gets the cut next season.

July 18, 2018 @ 11:18 AM

Urooj Islam

Holy shit! I love it!

You don't get many chances if any to acquire a player of Kawhi's caliber. And now the Raptors have a year to win him over with the team and the city (along with the fact that they can offer him the most money over the next year) so they potentially have their next franchise player.

I'm not too bent out of shape about DeRozan (and Poeltl) being traded, he was great but the way last year ended left a really sour taste in my mouth. You could not bring back the same team after that.

All Masai is doing is shortening their window by one year in the present to potentially lock up one of the best players in the league long-term. I love the gamble! The Raptors were going to have to rebuild in 2020 with all their core pieces hitting free agency, anyway.

What a summer for Toronto sports!

July 18, 2018 @ 11:25 AM

James Edgar

This seems risky from what i'm hearing . I honestly have no real idea who Kawhi Leonard is.

He sat out most of last year with an injury though according to his Wikipedia page. that really makes me think it's risky never mind the I don't want to play in Toronto stuff.

Is there a player on the Lakers that we would want that the rapters could trade for?

July 18, 2018 @ 11:47 AM

jj

Urooj Islam - it just hurts, but he is out most moveable piece - and he loved Toronto, and vice versa. They never should have told him he would not be traded, their dishonesty is sad.

James Edgar - he sat out with the injury, and the rumor was that they wanted him to return before he felt ready, and that sowed the seeds of discontent. along with a rumour that his own team mate dissed him about sitting out for too long.

July 18, 2018 @ 11:55 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

It's often said the winner of a trade is the team that gets the best player, in which case the Raptors win this trade. Kawhi Leonard is now debatably the best player in the conference, and certainly a top five player in the league.

But... he doesn't want to be here and is a free agent after this season, so if he signs with the Lakers, well... that's a significant risk.

July 18, 2018 @ 12:55 PM

susan

I hate to say it but I bet Demar DeRozan's mental health issues played into the decision.

July 18, 2018 @ 4:31 PM

chris

@susan
You hate to say it but wrote it & how could you. Read again & again before you send.

July 18, 2018 @ 5:58 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@susan

I really don't think so. I think this was all about Masai having a chance to land a top five guy.

He's swinging for the fences, like AA in 2015.

July 18, 2018 @ 8:19 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

I woke up early, checked my Twitter feed at 5:00 a.m., only to see how the trade was coming, and at that time it was only confirmed to be Kawhi for DeMar, but more pieces to the puzzle were coming. I was almost sure that we would need to give up a prized piece of our future likely OG or Pascal to get it to go through, and once the rest of the trade was confirmed around 9:00 a.m., and we kept both, lost Jacob, but in the scheme of things he was the player with the least upside, and have a 1-20 first round pick protected next year from what we gave up, so I was ecstatic. Even Danny Green is a useful veteran piece who can hit three's and play respectable D. And just found out the Spurs are sending us $5M as a trade kicker to boot.

It is well documented that I have never believed that DeMar is a Superstar, and that is not to demean his accomplishments, which are All-Star worthy in the eastern conference. Having said that, the Raptors current core, regardless if LeBron was still in the east or not, has had more than enough opportunities to show that they had what it takes in the playoffs and have failed. What Masai has done with Casey and now DeMar is to make the necessary changes to have a shot to come out of the east, which was highly likely prior to the trade.

Masai has protected himself from every scenario, as all it means if Kawhi leaves after one year is that a rebuild starts a bit earlier, and we have the young nucleus to grow with it. We have tons of cap space to come off the books as a result and can rebuild. Having said that, we know that Toronto is still a tough sell for American players to come here as free agents, and our best shot is to acquire them by trade and then have them see what it is like to play here with a rabid fanbase and a world class multi-cultural city. Kawhi can also receive about $50M more and another year on a new contract, so it may not all be about L.A. come contract time.

I am beyond excited to get the best two-way player in the NBA when healthy even for one year. Just wait to see the damage that Kawhi, OG, and Pascal will do on the open floor via steals and breaking up passing lanes. Raps are also so versatile now with their roster. We do need a big man now with Jacob gone to back up JV, that should be easy for Masai to take care of.

This current roster is built for the playoffs, and I would now rate them ahead of Philly and behind the Celtics, but with a shot to come out of the east. It will be advantageous to finish in first place and avoid having to take out both Philly and Boston in a series but I am getting ahead of myself.

Just enjoy the season now, as every regular season game will be intriguing to watch and an audition for Kawhi and what to expect should be stay here.

July 18, 2018 @ 11:51 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

A lot of the initial distaste for this deal comes from the fear he won't play here. Initially, you wonder if he'll hold out, feign injury or dog it until he can bolt to LA. So initially you're grappling with the fact we traded a loyal all-star who has been here for nine years for a guy who doesn't want to be here and has said he's going to be a Laker in 2019.

But... when you hear he's warming up to coming here, and that he'll play for us next season, and you realize you have a top five guy and the best player in the Eastern Conference, you see the potential genius. Yes, there's risk, but what an upside! The Raps are better today than they were a couple of days ago.

So here we are 24 hours later and I've gone from hoping Masai knows what he's doing to being pretty excited about this monster trade.

July 19, 2018 @ 8:25 AM

Brian Gerstein AKA Raptors Devotee

Glad you are excited Mike, you should be. Kawhi has no beef against the Raptors, so let's hope that he passes the physical and will be ready to go. He was about to suit up for the US National team so I have no concerns there.

With the Maple Leafs adding Tavares the Raptors really had to make a splash. Can you imagine coming back with the same old, same old, which has failed too numerous times to mention, and have any relevance in this market, when all the Raptor fans will be waiting for are the playoffs so this flawed team make amends. I know that the Raptors were 60:1 to win the NBA Championship before this trade, and are now 18:1, which is astonishing, and shows you how much of a difference changer Kawhi will be. Not to mention how playing with him will make our young core progress way quicker than with DeMar there, who basically was a one-way player.

The Raptors have a shut-down defence now perfectly suited for the playoffs. When you add in Nurse's ability not eh offensive end even against a healthy Boston team the Raptors are primed to come out of the east. Most Raptor fans have seen very little of Kawhi play since he is in the western conference and the Spurs are not a team that is televised as much as the Warriors for example. He is 27 and has something to prove this year to get his max contract, and he is easily the best player to ever suit up for the Raptors, plus Lowry has the pressure taken off him as well. I am beyond excited to start the season!

July 19, 2018 @ 9:51 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Brian

I'm with you, but... it does feel like the window is precisely one year.

July 19, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

jj

ok I was just waiting for Brian's breakdown because he is always so clear and concise in his analysis.

I am so so so so sad to lose Demar and wish they had been honest about trade possibilities, but I will be watching when the season starts to see how it all plays out.

July 19, 2018 @ 10:28 AM

Scott

Absolutely agree with Brian. The Raptors have to take a risk, it doesn't even matter if the trade works out it only matters that they did something that has the potential to make the team much, much better. DeMar will be missed, he was the greatest Raptor ever but he failed to get the team past the Cavs 3 years in a row and the Raptors couldn't even win a game against them. It's not solely his fault, but the team as it was couldn't get the job done. I think the Jays traded away beloved players before they won the World Series. Would anyone take those deals back?

July 19, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

NG

Well, I think we know who will be on the cover of the Canadian release nba 2k19 .

July 24, 2018 @ 4:15 PM

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