The Toronto Raptors made it official Wednesday, confirming their acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 protected first-round draft pick.
And just like that, Twitter began destroying the Raptors for the risky move. That’s because, the Raptors pulled the trigger on the trade, knowing that Leonard is hell-bent on signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency next summer, as his intentions have been widely reported.
However, the Raptors still gambled on the deal, banking on the outside chance that the former NBA Finals MVP and two-time All-Star small forward will choose to re-sign with the franchise at the end of the 2018-19 season.
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It is not a smart gamble— and Twitter let the Raptors hear all about it.
TORONTO TRADED THEIR BEST PLAYER IN FRANCHISE HISTORY FOR SOMEONE WHO WILL ONLY BE THERE 1 YEAR💀— StarDevelopingadelphia (@TyMargulies) July 18, 2018
Speaking of loyalty, Kawhi will be gone after his 1st year 🤣🤣🤣— Fryboy (@Fryboyyy) July 18, 2018
But wait, the trade has potential to backfire even worse for the Raptors. Leonard sat out 73 games with the Spurs last season, in addition to the playoffs, with a quad injury. Although it would be unprecedented, what if he chooses to do the same during this upcoming season with the Raptors?
Not only does the trade poke holes at the Raptors’ business acumen, but it also puts them in the crosshairs of irate fans furious over the franchise trading DeRozan, a four-time All-Star shooting guard, who was nothing but loyal to the city and team.
“Be told one thing & the outcome another. Can’t trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game,” DeRozan wrote on his Instagram story during the wee hours of Thursday morning, as reported by NBC Sports. “Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing… Soon you’ll understand… Don’t disturb…”
What type of contract could Kawhi Leonard receive next summer?
The Raptors could take some solace in the fact that they could offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million extension next summer. That would be more than the four-year, $141 million contract that any other franchise with salary cap space could offer him, as reported by ESPN.
Even if Leonard leaves Toronto, the Raptors could also tender a max contract to another player. But that begs for the question to be asked, why make the deal in the first place?
What are the chances that Kawhi Leonard re-ups with Toronto after this season?