The Toronto Raptors have been rumored to be the favourite to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs, but is it a good idea?
The rumours linking the Toronto Raptors to Kawhi Leonard show no sign of slowing down. The latest such speculation indicates the Raptors are now in the driving seat to trade for him.
Leonard is without question one of the best players in the NBA. He’s a former Finals MVP and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. But he’s also coming off an injury that made him miss most of last season.
Leonard also has an opt-out after next season so the question is, is he worth a gamble? Instead of answering that question for you, we’ll provide you with the pros and cons of adding Leonard to the Raptors and let you decide on your own.
These odds do suggest that people around the league think the Raptors have a good chance to land Leonard. Here is the rumored trade package; DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby and Toronto’s 2020 first-round pick for Leonard.
The Raptors can afford to make this deal because of the depth they have on their roster. Leonard will easily replace the offense that DeRozan provided for this team.
Plus, the Raptors gain one of the best defenders in the NBA. Which would be a huge upside, because Raptors fans know all about how ineffective DeRozan is on defence.
Now you’re thinking who fills in at the two spot? Well, that comes down to who matches up well with this new look offence lead by Leonard. Delon Wright and Norman Powell will be the most likely players to take that spot.
Both players have the potential to shine in that spot. But regardless, Leonard makes this team better on both sides of the ball.
Now for the reasons why acquiring Leonard would be bad for the Raptors. The first reason is stated in the tweet above.
Leonard is now eligible for a super max contract, which makes it difficult for the Raptors because of how tight to the luxury tax they are. Leonard has also made it very clear that the Lakers are his preferred destination.
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That means if the Raptors have any chance to sway Leonard to sign long-term in Toronto, they need to trade for him now. And if they trade for him now they have to pay a big price to acquire him. Sending DeRozan, Anunoby and a first rounder is a huge price to pay for one year of Leonard.
The Spurs aren’t allowing teams to speak to Leonard’s representatives about any extension either, which makes it even more of a risk. Which means if you make this trade and Leonard leaves, then you’re forced into a rebuild after next season.
Leonard undoubtedly makes the Raptors a better team, but the reward may not be worth the risk. Only time will tell if the Raptors are indeed the team to land him, but they’ll have to work quickly if they want to keep him past the 2018-19 season.
Do you think acquiring Leonard will make the Toronto Raptors better? And do you think it’s worth the risk? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.