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Raptors Have Positive Initial Conversation With Kawhi Leonard

Jul 18, 2018 9:52 PM

Since the trade became official on Wednesday, the Toronto Raptors have had initial conversations with Kawhi Leonard and his camp. Sources say the talks were positive and there was no indication of a holdout or even an unwillingness to play for the Raptors. 

The Raptors acquired Leonard and Danny Green in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first round pick.

Leading to the trade, Zach Lowe of ESPN reported Leonard's camp made it clear he had no interest in joining the Raptors.

Lowe also reported late Wednesday that the Spurs sent $5 million in cash to the Raptors as part of the deal, which is meant to cover the tax hit linked to Leonard's trade kicker.

Bruce Arthur/Toronto Star

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Kawhi Leonard Reportedly Talking To Other Stars About 2019 Free Agency Plans

Jul 18, 2018 5:50 PM

While Kawhi Leonard has been silent with the media, Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star said on the Back To Back Podcast on Wednesday that he has been in conversations with other impending 2019 free agents about possibly playing together.

"One thing I was told last night is that Kawhi Leonard had already been planning out his free agency for next year and he had already been in contact with other star players in the league and saying 'Hey, where might you want to play with me? What are we looking at?'

"It wasn't just L.A. he was talking about," added Arthur. "Brooklyn was maybe somewhere. They're going to have a ton of cap space. That might have been a possibility.

"So Kawhi has already been thinking ahead to pairing up and playing at a highest level."

The 2019 free agent class includes Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

Bruce Arthur/Toronto Star

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Gregg Popovich Insists Kawhi Leonard Remained 'Great Teammate All The Way Through'

Jul 18, 2018 4:44 PM

Gregg Popovich made it clear that he and Kawhi Leonard are parting on good terms following the trade with the Toronto Raptors.

"That's all ridiculous," Popovich said of reports that Leonard was a "bad teammate" late season.

"Kawhi was a great teammate all the way through," Popovich said. "He did his work, was no problem for anybody. But talking heads out there have to have stories, and I get it...But all those stories that denigrated him in that regard were unfortunate and inaccurate."

Popovich said he is confident that the blockbuster deal "will be a good situation for everybody involved."

"Kawhi obviously worked very hard to become the player he is and our staff worked very hard to help him get there and we wish him all the best as he moves on to Toronto. I think he will be great," Popovich said. "Danny Green will be missed. He's been here quite a while and was a big part of what we do on and off the court. He was a great community guy, and we are going to miss him very much."

Popovich said he and Leonard spoke often this summer "about a lot of different things, on and off the court" but that no agreement could be reached that would keep him in San Antonio.

"Attempts were made to see what would be best, and in the end this trade appeared and we felt this was the way to go," Popovich said.

Tom Orsborn/San Antonio Express-News

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Celtics Were Unwilling To Trade For Kawhi Without Assurances On Health, Future Plans

Jul 18, 2018 4:28 PM

The Boston Celtics were unwilling to trade any of their core players, including Jaylen Brown, without assurances about Kawhi Leonard's health and future plans.

The Celtics feel comfortable with their short-term and long-term outlook without gambling on Leonard.

Boston has tremendous depth on the wing with Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward, but the upside of their roster is questionable without a true MVP candidate like Leonard.

Though not noted in Zach Lowe's piece, the Celtics have long been linked to Anthony Davis and they could be waiting for the possibility he becomes available. 

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Spurs Weren't Interested In Kawhi Leonard Trade Offers Heavy On Picks, Unproven Players

Jul 18, 2018 4:24 PM

The San Antonio Spurs never showed interest in any trade packages for Kawhi Leonard that were heavy on picks and unproven players.

Gregg Popovich reportedly does not want to finish his NBA career in a rebuild.

San Antonio sought an All-Star in addition to other assets and managed to acquire one from the Toronto Raptors in DeMar DeRozan.

The Philadelphia 76ers' package of Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Miami's unprotected 2021 didn't move the needle for the Spurs.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Kawhi Leonard's Camp Made It Clear He Had No Interest In Joining Raptors

Jul 18, 2018 4:19 PM

Kawhi Leonard's camp made it clear to the Toronto Raptors and other teams over the past week that he had no interest in being traded there, according to sources.

The Raptors still moved forward with a trade for Leonard on Wednesday.

Masai Ujiri believes he can convince Leonard on the Raptors, but they could also trade him before the deadline if they get the sense he still intends to leave in free agency.

Leonard played in just nine games last season and the status of his quad is one of the biggest uncertainties in the NBA.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst, however, reports Leonard is expected to report to the Raptors.

“From what I understand in talking to people, Kawhi’s going to be a professional about it, he’ll accept the situation and try to make the best of it,” said Windhorst.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Spurs Begged Kawhi Leonard To Let Them Announce He'd Miss Remainder Of Season

Jul 18, 2018 10:23 AM

Gregg Popovich begged Kawhi Leonard on multiple occasions to let him announce that he would be out for the remainder of the season.

Leonard's uncertain status put Popovich in an uncomfortable position where he couldn't give the media an easy answer on his status. Even in the playoffs, Leonard's status remained uncertain.

Leonard left the Spurs on two occasions to rehab in New York.

Despite the issues, the Spurs believed the relationship with worth salvaging. Popovich met with Leonard in San Diego ahead of the draft in June.

Michael C. Wright/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA Injury

Raptors Told DeMar DeRozan At Summer League He Wouldn't Be Traded

Jul 18, 2018 9:19 AM

The Toronto Raptors met with DeMar DeRozan in Las Vegas during Summer League and told him he would not be traded.

DeRozan, however, was traded on Wednesday in Toronto's deal with the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.

In a story posted on his Instagram page on Wednesday morning, DeRozan wrote, "Be told one thing & the outcome another. Can't trust em. Ain't no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing... Soon you'll understand... Don't disturb..."

Neither DeRozan or Leonard are expressing enthusiasm for the trade.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Raptors Acquire Kawhi Leonard From Spurs For Package Centered On DeMar DeRozan

Jul 18, 2018 9:00 AM

The Toronto Raptors have agreed to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs for DeMar Deorzan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick. The first round pick is protected 1-20 in 2019 and becomes two second round picks if it doesn't convert.

A trade call with the league office to finalize the trade is set for Wednesday, sources said.

The Raptors and Spurs have been discussing a trade for about two weeks.

Both DeRozan and Leonard are reportedly unhappy with the move. Sources tell Chris Haynes that Leonard has no interest in playing for the Raptors.

In a story posted on his Instagram page on Wednesday morning, DeRozan wrote, "Be told one thing & the outcome another. Can't trust em. Ain't no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing... Soon you'll understand... Don't disturb..."

Leonard has been clear he plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency in 2019. 

Adrian Wojnarowski explained Toronto's thinking on trading for Leonard.

"There's no question this deal comes with great risk for Toronto," said Wojnarowski. "In the end, they didn't feel like they were good enough with the team they had to beat Boston, maybe even beat Philly."

Wojnarowski added the Raptors hope to convince Leonard to sign long-term and will likely pivot to a rebuild if he leaves.

Adrian Wojnarowski, Chris Haynes/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Raptors Have Made Most Compelling Offer To Spurs For Kawhi Leonard

Jul 17, 2018 8:22 PM

On Monday, Brian Windhorst reported the Toronto Raptors could be in 'driver's seat' to acquire Kawhi Leonard and he added to his reporting on Tuesday. The Raptors reportedly have made a compelling offer to the Spurs for Leonard.

"The Raptors have moved in because there isn't anybody on the Raptors' roster right now that isn't available in a trade," said Brian Windhorst on TSN 1050. "The Raptors aren't protecting anybody. The Raptors, I think, have a shorter timeline with this particular team than the Celtics or Sixers do."

With LeBron James leaving the Eastern Conference, the Raptors see a window of opportunity.

"(The Raptors) have made an offer to the Spurs. As far as I know, it's the most compelling offer that the Spurs have right now. I think right now, they're the only team active in discussions."

Windhorst also spoke about Toronto's perspective on a deal on another program airing in Canada.

"It's real, it's real," said Windhorst on the Tim and Sid Show. "The Raptors are legitimately talking to the Spurs. There's only a couple of teams that they could do a deal with and those teams right now aren't getting traction with the Spurs.

"There's a couple of things you have to realize with this particular trade. It's operating on the Spurs' timetable. It's not a matter of whether the Raptors make a decision to make an offer, or to put a player in the offer. This is the Spurs. The Spurs have never done this before. They are working very methodically. They're not under any real deadline. It's not as simple as making an offer and waiting. It really has to do with the Spurs decide to execute a trade.

"The second thing is you don't just have 'I'm willing to trade A for B.' You also have the uncertainity of Kawhi's health. How healthy is Kawhi Leonard? We don't know. The Spurs don't know. Whenever you get into a situation like this you want to get hard and fast answers because this is a really big moment.

"The other part is would Kawhi Leonard want to stay long-term? I don't know if you're going to get that answer. Even if Kawhi was able to speak directly to the Raptors, I don't know if you've ever talked to Kawhi Leonard before, but he doesn't give direct answers to questions. He doesn't emote. This is a very muddled situation.

"I'm sure Masai (Ujiri) and Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse and other members of the Raptors' front office have been going around and around on this trying to get their minds around it. Trying to figure out whether this is something they should do. But it's there. It's in front of them.

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Lorenzo Brown To Sign One-Year Contract With Raptors
Lorenzo Brown was on a two-way contract with Toronto last season and won G League MVP honors.

Shams Charania/Yahoo! Sports

Raptors, Wolves Held Exploratory Talks In 2017 On DeMar DeRozan For Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins ultimately signed a five-year extension with the Wolves in 2017.

Marc Stein/New York Times

Blazers, Suns, Nuggets, Wizards Have Also Discussed Kawhi Leonard Trade With Spurs
Kawhi Leonard is seriously considering attending USA Basketball national team's minicamp in Las Vegas next week.

Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Raptors Could Be In 'Driver's Seat' To Trade For Kawhi Leonard
The Raptors could be the team in the best position to acquire Kawhi Leonard in a trade with the Spurs.

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Raptors To Waive Alfonzo McKinnie
Alfonzo McKinnie had a guarantee date of Wednesday for his $1.4 million deal.

Shams Charania/Yahoo! Sports

Raptors Withdraw Qualifying Offer To Malcolm Miller
Malcolm Miller will now become an unrestricted free agent.

RealGM Staff Report

Spurs Continue To Have High Threshold On Kawhi Leonard Trade
The Spurs aren't nearing a deal of Kawhi Leonard.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Spurs Plan On Reaching Out To Kawhi Leonard Once Trade Is Close
Kawhi Leonard continues to prefer a trade to Los Angeles.

Ben Rohrbach/Yahoo! Sports

Source Close To DeMar DeRozan Says Deleting Instagram Had No Special Meaning
DeMar DeRozan deleted his Instagram account this week.

Michael Grange/

Raptors 'Generate Buzz' As Possible Trade Spot For Kawhi Leonard
Masai Ujiri is known to have a strong relationship with RC Buford.

Tim Bontemps/Washington Post

Fred VanVleet Agrees Upon Two-Year, $18M Deal With Raptors
Fred VanVleet has emerged as one of the NBA's best backup point guards.

Shams Charania/Yahoo! Sports

Raptors Extend Qualifying Offers To Fred VanVleet, Malcolm Miller, Nando De Colo
Fred VanVleet was a finalist for Sixth Man of the Year.

RealGM Staff Report

Dwane Casey Named 2018 Coach Of The Year
Dwane Casey has been named the 17-18 NBA Coach of the Year, beating out Brad Stevens and Quin Snyder.

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2018 NBA Draft: Full Results
The Suns have selected Deandre Ayton first overall.

RealGM Staff Report

Raptors Explore Trade Market For Norman Powell
Norman Powell signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension in the fall.

Josh Lewenberg/TSN

Raptors 905 Hires Jama Mahlalela As Head Coach
Jama Mahlalela moved to the Raptors' bench in 13-14 helping with practice and game planning, individual player skill development and off-season programs.

RealGM Staff Report

Raptors Trying To Trade Into Draft To Select Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
The Raptors traded away their 2018 first round pick to unload DeMarre Carroll to save on the luxury tax.

Marc Stein/New York Times

Pelicans Deny Permission To Interview Chris Finch For Assistant Job
Nick Nurse coached under Chris Finch for Great Britain in 2012.

Marc Stein/New York Times

Masai Ujiri: Nick Nurse Is A Great Coach In The Making
Masai Ujiri spoke of the decision to fire Dwane Casey and ultimately replace him with Nick Nurse.

Michael Scotto/The Athletic

Clippers Hire Rex Kalamian As Assistant Coach
Rex Kalamian was an assistant coach with the Raptors from 2015 until 2018.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN