The nearly three weeks NBA-free agency and almost a month of trading left the Eastern Conference extremely quiet. The Wizards had probably been the most aggressive team in the East, as the largest movements had taken place in the West and especially LeBron James changed the coasts.
That changed on Wednesday when the Toronto Raptors landed a deal with The San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard, a double defensive player of the year. The complete offer includes the All-NBA Guardian DeMar DeRozan, who goes to San Antonio together with the great man Jakob Poeltl and a protected selection round from the year 2019. The Raptors also receive guard Danny Green, according to ESPN.
Here are some take-aways from trading …
That's good, potentially good news for the Wizards
Fall scenario for the Wizards and most of the East would have been if Leonard either The Sixers or Celtics was dealt with as the potential for a dominant team would have been. Above all, the Sixers could have acted with Leonard, without giving up much on pieces that could help them now. They would have Leonard with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid brought together and would probably be the favorites for the NBA Finals. Instead, the Sixers have beaten and are now facing the prospect of getting a pretty big L in this off-season, given all the guys who were attached to it.
Leonard and the Raptors will be fine and maybe even better They were last season. Although the Raptors won 59 games in the regular season, they disappointed in the playoffs. Leonard could change that, but he will not have the help to make her an unstoppable force. Kyle Lowry is good, but he's an aging player and they do not have a third star, at least not yet. They have a lot of new first-missions that could theoretically make the leap.
This deal is good for the Wizards and could be great if Leonard goes to the free agency next summer. If he does, the Raptors will be in big trouble.
What will the Lakers do?
When James signed up with the Lakers, most people thought they would add at least one star to run with him. But now that Leonard is traveling to Toronto, they are very likely to not even add one. James could actually play with Lonzo Ball in addition to Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. Sure, they can sign Leonard next summer or find another star, but that will now turn out to be a lost year for James.
As agreed, they gain nothing from substance. It's just so surprising that James would be cool with that talent around him, considering what he could have done this season if he signed with Philly or another team.
People Look At The Wrong Contract
The response to the Leonard deal was praise for the Raptors who had freed themselves from DeRozan's deal. This is a headbreaker. DeRozan will make over $ 27 million over the next three years, the third is a player option, but he's an all-NBA player who turns 29 next month. That's not so bad when it comes to NBA contracts.
Lowry's contract is borderline bad. He's 32 in the wrong direction with his numbers and he's supposed to make $ 31 million next season and $ 33.3 million a year later. It's not like the Raptors got rid of their worst deal.
Masai takes steps
This is a risk for the Raptors and you have to respect it. Their general manager, Masai Ujiri, had seen enough of the duo DeRozan-Lowry, which was running out in the playoffs. He fired head coach Dwane Casey and made a trade for Leonard, who in his best is one of the leading players in the NBA.
There is a significant risk in this move with Leonard 73 games missed last season with a quadriceps injury and given the fact that he can decide to test free agency next summer. If he really wants to join the Lakers, he could leave the Raptors empty-handed.
But it's a risk worth taking. Everyone assumed the same future for Paul George and he landed in Oklahoma City. There is no guarantee that Leonard will leave and now the Raptors have one year to persuade him to stay. Ujiri should be praised for this deal because he is brave and he has done one of the hardest things a GM can do to find a top 5 talent for his team.
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