The Spurs will also trade Danny Green along with Leonard to the Raptors, who will send Jakob Poeltl and a future first-round draft pick with DeRozan, league sources said. DeRozan was informed of the deal overnight by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, and Leonard was informed of his move on Wednesday morning, league sources said.
Talks between the Spurs and Raptors intensified in recent days, league sources said. The deal brings Leonard, one of the NBA’s top players when healthy, to Toronto and sends an All-NBA and All-Star caliber player in DeRozan to the Spurs.
From the moment Leonard made clear his desire for a trade out of San Antonio, the Spurs have taken a patient, deliberate approach to finding a resolution. Several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, emerged as suitors, but most NBA executives believed the Raptors presented the best potential current and future package.
Leonard is scheduled to enter free agency in 2019 and has no desire to play for Toronto, league sources said. DeRozan also has expressed displeasure toward a move, becoming aware of the possibility late Tuesday night, league sources said.
Leonard became uncomfortable with the Spurs’ franchise last season because of an overall mistrust stemming from the handling of his quadriceps injury, leading to his desire to be traded. The 2014 NBA Finals MVP then met with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on June 19 and informed him that his stance had not changed, league sources said, and Leonard had long eyed Los Angeles as his next destination via free agency in 2019. For the Raptors, the deal comes weighing risk versus reward, but Toronto has become a potentially attractive city, organization and on- and off-court fit for marquee players.
DeRozan has spent his entire nine-year NBA career in Toronto, the franchise that selected him with the No. 9 pick in the 2009 draft. The face of the franchise and culture, DeRozan remained loyal to the team in 2016 when he signed a five-year, $139 million contract extension. He is a four-time NBA All-Star, leading the Raptors to the most wins in franchise history, including the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals.
Leonard, 27, is a two-time All-Star and led the Spurs to the 2014 championship. He’s under contract for two more seasons and owed $41.4 million, but has a player option for 2019-20. Leonard was drafted 15th overall in 2011 and when healthy is regarded as the league’s best two-way player. His finest season was in 2016-17, when Leonard averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shot 38 percent from 3-point range.
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