The current hot mess/NBA’s most recent fit-thrower, Kawhi Leonard seems to have been granted the trade he has been asking for. But unfortunately for him, it seems the job is taking him a little farther to The North than he longed for.
In the early hours of Wednesday July 18, Adrian Wojnarowski broke that a deal was all but finalized to send Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors, in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick. Kawhi has already expressed his lack of desire to play in Toronto while it was no secret he only had eyes for Los Angeles in potential trade destinations. After being shipped off to a city covered in snow over half the year in a different country, it’s hard to be surprised at this reaction. With his recent behavior imitating someone hiding from their ex at a party, it’s also hard to emote any sympathy for the guy.
The B story rapidly becoming the headline however, is DeMar DeRozan’s betrayal by the Raptors management. After reportedly being told in Las Vegas at summer league that he would not be traded, DeRozan took no time to express his frustration on his Instagram account. As did the rest of the league, including Damian Lillard.
After DeRozan turned down a maximum-contract deal to alleviate cap space for the Raptors, his grow-to-love relationship with Kyle Lowry, and his Vince Carter-like embrace of Toronto, the whole situation is furthering the recurring theme that the NBA is a cold-blooded entertainment business, but is is in fact a business.
Almost every year around this time, I’ve imagined getting the news that Toronto woke up to this morning; Dame or CJ is gone for something that isn’t guaranteed, like an injured attitude problem. It’s the day I know that would have meant that we’d given up on trying to redeem years of bad draft luck; they were and continue to be our karma for Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant.
To Toronto, I say I am sorry because I can only imagine where you are now and it seems disheartening to say the least. But I also hope you’re able to continue to love DeRozan beyond the black and gold, because he loved you just as much. I sincerely hope his experience as a Spur and working under Popovich is only beneficial to his growth as a player and human. He also might be the most Spurs-iest player ever without ever considering it before this, and my genuine interest is also at play. And the ovation you will welcome him with at his first game back in Toronto will say everything that needs to be said.
And to Kawhi, I say the cold-shoulder you gave San Antonio won’t hold a candle to what’s bound to be the coldest winter of your career.