Monday, 19 November, 2018

Rick Zamperin: Kawhi Leonard joining the Raptors is a longshot

Miami_not_offering_trade_for_Kawhi_Leonard_because_they_don_t_have_star_to_pair_him_with Sixers unwilling to spend too much for Kawhi Leonard - Philly
Rita Gibson | 11 July, 2018, 09:54

Paul George won a victory for small market teams everywhere by proving that loyalty still exists in the National Basketball Association.

On the trade front, we saw European teen rookie sensation Luka Doncic get dealt on draft night, while role players like Austin Rivers and Marcin Gortat swapped teams, Dwight Howard landed in Washington, and Wilson Chandler was moved to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Kawhi Leonard is still a San Antonio Spur... for now. With San Antonio in no rush to move its disgruntled superstar, the drama could drag on throughout the summer - and beyond.

Blow by blow: France vs Belgium
But standing in their way is Deschamps' France who are looking to venture into their third World Cup final in 20 years. They last met in a friendly in 2015 and a number of Belgian and French players are team mates at club level.

Last month, it was heavily reported that Leonard wanted out of San Antonio with a preference to move to the Los Angeles Lakers where he could potentially team up with LeBron James, who officially signed his contract Monday. The trade talks between the Spurs and Sixers have hit a snag, however, because the Spurs reportedly "keep trying to raise the ante". While those are the two players the Spurs would want from Philly, they are believed to be asking for three future first-round picks.

The Toronto Raptors also generated buzz as a potential destination for Leonard.

Now there is speculation that Masai Ujiri could be inclined to make a bold win-now trade and acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs. He was clearly a favorite for the team and years later, he could be in the mix yet again. Yet with Leonard, they will have an elite player capable of defending the opposing team's best player and be the number one option on the offensive end. Even if it costs the Raptors a draft pick and a young asset, moving, say, DeMar DeRozan in a package for Leonard would give Toronto a cleaner cap sheet when nearly all of their meaningful contracts come off of the books in 2020. In addition to his impending free agency, the quadriceps injury that limited him to just nine games in the 2017-18 season remains a major red flag.

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