- The Raptors and Spurs have swapped All-Stars
- How does the blockbuster trade affect 2019 NBA Championship odds?
- Will Kawhi Leonard stay in Toronto?
Less than a week ago, we reported that the Toronto Raptors had become the favorites to acquire two-time All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs.
And obviously, that online sports betting site knew what they were talking about. The Raptors and Spurs finalized a blockbuster trade this morning (July 18th) that sees Leonard head north to Toronto, while a package including four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan is sent the other way.
Here is the full trade:
|Toronto Raptors Get||San Antonio Spurs Get|
|Kawhi Leonard||DeMar DeRozan|
|Danny Green||Jakob Poeltl|
|Protected 2019 1st Round Pick|
*The 2019 first-round pick is top-20 protected. If it lands in the top 20, it turns into two 2020 second-round picks.
For the Spurs, they felt getting a proven All-Star in DeMar DeRozan, along with a solid bench player and a first-round pick, was the best they were going to get for Kawhi. Gregg Popovich knew the longer he waited to make a move, the less leverage he would have.
Kawhi Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, league source tells ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 18, 2018
For the Raptors, this move feels like they were just ready to move on from DeRozan. Kawhi has already expressed he has no interest in playing in Toronto, so they have essentially just traded their franchise centerpiece for a one-year rental, if Leonard even plays.
Kawhi Leonard vs DeMar DeRozan
|16.3||PPG in Regular Season||19.7|
|16.9||PPG in Playoffs||21.9|
|54.9||eFG% in Regular Season||46.7|
|57.6||eFG% in Playoffs||42.2|
Raptors Pull Among Eastern Conference Favorites with Kawhi
Online sports betting sites clearly believe the Raptors won the trade, at least in the short-term. Their odds at Bovada went from +5500 all the way down to +1800, while the Celtics and 76ers stayed put at +550 and +1600, respectively.
Kawhi projects to be a better fit in Nick Nurse’s new offense that demands ball movement, and the four-time All-Defensive Team selection and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is certainly an upgrade over DeRozan on the defensive end.
But more importantly, Leonard is an NBA Finals MVP and has proven himself in the playoffs.
|Odds Kawhi Leonard Plays for the Raptors in 2018-19 Season||1-9|
|Odds Kawhi Leonard Plays for the Raptors in 2019-20 Season||19-1|
|Odds Kawhi Leonard wins 2019 NBA MVP||9-1|
|Odds Kawhi Leonard wins 2019 Defensive Player of the Year||7-1|
|Over/Under PPG for Kawhi Leonard in 2018-19||23.5|
No One Believes in DeRozan and the Spurs
Not to suggest anyone believed Kawhi Leonard’s San Antonio Spurs were going to make it out of the incredibly difficult Western Conference, but now they find themselves outside of the top five contenders in the West.
Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA. But he’s going to have a tough time finding a way for LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, two players who specialize in the mid-range, to exist in the same offense.
|Odds the Spurs make the 2019 NBA Playoffs||4-5|
|Odds DeMar DeRozan wins 2019 NBA MVP||19-1|
|Over/Under PPG for DeMar DeRozan in 2018-19||26.5|