Newest Raptor Kawhi Leonard: 5 things to know about the two-way forward

Toby Graves
July 19, 2018

Ujiri will make the deal with a determination that he can sell Leonard on re-signing with the Raptors next summer in free agency, sources said.

Kawhi Leonard got part of his wish in that he was traded out of San Antonio, but his camp has been making it abundantly clear that he only wants to play for the Lakers or Clippers.

Leonard, who turned 27 on June 29, played in only nine games last season while he struggled to overcome a mysterious quadriceps injury that kept him out of the lineup until December 12.

Raptors management has sacrificed the certainty of a very good team for a chance at being a great one. Consequently, he also collected his first Finals MVP plum before winning two consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards in the following seasons.

COMING OFF INJURY - Leonard missed San Antonio's first 27 games last season with a right quadriceps injury, making his debut on December 12 against Dallas. This marks the second major move of the off-season for the Raptors as Toronto fired Coach of the Year Dwane Casey.

The Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan trade was an unexpected Wednesday morning blockbuster.

Also, with a Toronto locker room in flux after the departure of DeRozan and a new head coach in Nick Nurse, questions about whether the Leonard experiment will work at all are fair. But it will either take another leap from within their young core or a star player, perhaps Leonard, who is as dead set on living in Los Angeles as James was, for them to find another star.

It all starts with Leonard, though, and whether he ever warms to the notion of being a Raptor, living here, playing here, caring, being a difference-maker here.

Leonard, a 6-foot-7 small forward, has averaged 16.3 points and 6.2 rebounds over his seven seasons with the Spurs.

Yes. There is another National Basketball Association rule that could come into play if Leonard elects to voluntarily sit out next season. And don't forget Paul George was going to be a Laker, too, and stuck with the Thunder. "It's a gamble, but Toronto is probably at the point where, 'We've probably only got one more run with this team anyhow so let's mix it up.' And if they have to rebuild or retool, they could do it without the [$83] million they owe DeRozan".

The report indicates that the Blazers' trade package did not include either of their star guards, Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum. He has a player option for the 2019-20 season.

DeRozan has three years and $83 million left on his contract.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article