Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor. That’s a weird sentence I wasn’t prepared to type. I was certainly unprepared for the Raptors to offer DeMar DeRozen in exchange. Now, as the dust settles on this huge deal, Chris Haynes of ESPN is reporting a new wrinkle.
Add in this article from Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, and something smells off in Toronto. How off? Let’s look at a paragraph from Deveny’s article:
And, league sources told Sporting News, Leonard has no interest in playing for the Raptors. There have been indications that he would sit out the entire season if necessary, and though that step would be drastic and unprecedented in today’s game, Toronto has forced the situation into uncharted territory by acquiring a player who has made it clear he does not want to be there.
That’s huge news. If the Raptors traded away a great player who never quite clicked in the hopes to gain a superstar, only to have that superstar sit out the year he’s under contract with them, then Toronto just burned itself. Big time.
Already Down a Man
Don’t forget, Toronto recently fired their Coach of the Year, Dwayne Casey. With Casey gone, and DeRozen off to San Antonio, the Raptors have abruptly changed their course. If they hoped that Kawhi Leonard’s acquisition would inspire a top-tier coach to come lead the team, they may need to find another tactic. Leonard is already injury-prone (DeRozen was notably reliable), and the Raptors don’t have much depth.
Yes, the Raptors have Kyle Lowery, and yes, the coaching change was meant to breathe new life into this team. But Leonard wants to be in Los Angeles. He wants to play with Lebron James, and he wants to compete for a title. Can the Raptors do that? Not with that attitude they can’t.
This is a contentious story and The Turf will update this article with any news.