In a league that has recently seen a shift in power from organization to the players, the San Antonio Spurs have just flexed their muscles. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Spurs have agreed to a deal with the Toronto Raptors. This package includes sending DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 protected first round pick (1-20) to San Antonio, for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Spurs have agree to trade Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN. Trade call with league office is starting shortly.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 18, 2018
The NBA has become a players league, in which it sees players use their power and stardom to head to desirable teams, whether for lifestyle or to team up with other superstars. Keeping things old school (how the Spurs usually operate), they traded their superstar Leonard to a team and city he allegedly has no desire to play for.
Kawhi Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, league source tells ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 18, 2018
It had been widely known and reported by various sports outlets that Kawhi has been longing to play in LA. Now that the Lakers have LeBron James to boot, one could think of that situation as really enticing. However, the Spurs had no obligation to “do right” by Kawhi and trade him to his preferred destination. They would use his stature to attract the best deal possible on the market, to yield the greatest result for the organization.
At the end of the day, the NBA is a business. Regardless of if the players choose their own destinations or get blindsided by a trade, the individual or team taking action will do so in their best interest. In a climate that has seen a ton of player induced movement, organizations might follow in the Spurs footsteps and continue to do what is best for them.