Spurs, Raptors swap Leonard, DeRozan in blockbuster deal

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

When Brett Brown mentioned star hunting multiple times after the season, he instilled belief in Philadelphia fans that we actually had a chance to land one. Fast forward to July 18, Paul George decided to stay in OKC, LeBron signed with the Lakers and now Kawhi Leonard is headed north of the border.

In a surprising turn of events, the embattled Spurs star will head to the Raptors in a blockbuster deal that will send DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio. 

The deal has been confirmed by the NBA.

This should be fun. Neither Leonard nor DeRozan are happy with this. Kawhi reportedly has no interest in playing in Toronto while DeRozan met with Toronto officials in Las Vegas during the Summer League and got the belief that he would not be traded.

According to Woj's more in depth piece on the trade, the Spurs and Raptors had been talking about the deal for two weeks. Toronto is taking a risk on Leonard, who has been said to prefer Los Angeles whether it be via trade or 2019 free agency. They will be able to offer him a five-year, $190 million contact next season while other teams with the space could give him $141 million over four years, Wojnarowski notes.

Since Leonard announced that he wanted out of San Antonio in mid-June, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston seemed like the three most interested teams in the former World Champion, but the Raptors swooped in over the past few weeks and acquired Leonard. The Sixers had reportedly made an offer centered around Dario Saric and Robert Covington, but nothing was ever confirmed.

The Sixers may have missed out on the big names this summer, but let's not forget how important star developing is in addition to star hunting. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and company will be fresh off their first playoff experience thirsty for more. Not to mention, Markelle Fultz looks to be healthy and is working with one of the most well-known NBA skills coaches.

It is okay to be disappointed, but not all is lost.

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