The NBA world has been aware for some time that Kawhi Leonard wanted out of San Antonio. Well, guess what? Leonard got what he wanted.
On the morning of Wednesday, July 18th, 2018, Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors for their respective superstar DeMar DeRozan.
However, even after the demands of Leonard were met, he still remains unhappy. Does this shock anyone? It shouldn’t.
According to Sean Deveney of ‘Sporting News:
“There have been indications that he would sit out the entire season if necessary, and though that step would be drastic and unprecedented in today’s game, Toronto has forced the situation into uncharted territory by acquiring a player who has made it clear he does not want to be there.”
If this report has any validity to it and it holds to be true, Leonard’s perceived perception across the league will no doubt be in shambles.
With Leonard making it abundantly clear that he will only play for the Los Angeles Lakers and possibly the Los Angeles Clippers, he is acting like a child who had his toy stolen and whenever he is offered a new one, he rejects it because he wants HIS toy.
Here is ONE of the main issues. The Raptors traded away their most loyal player who may possibly go down as the best player in franchise history right next to Vince Carter and Chris Bosh. DeRozan, a blue-collar superstar who has given everything to the city of Toronto was traded for a stubborn and upset superstar.
(food for thought: This move occurs in the same offseason the Raptors relieved Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey of his duties. Makes one wonder what is going on in Toronto’s front office.)
Knowing that this organization was willing to do that for Leonard, only to be repaid with him essentially sitting in the corner with his arms folded and saying “I never wanted to be here”, is the definition of a slap in the face. Raptors fans don’t need another courtside supporter. They already have one in Drake.
If we see Leonard in street clothes for Raptors games during the 2018-2019 season, the NBA should rightfully be upset with him. How does sitting out a year help anybody, especially Leonard?
Answer: It doesn’t.
For fun let’s just say Leonard follows through on all this talk about trying to sit out. What is the downfall? Pardon me if I leave any out:
1. Leonard’s likability and reputation to the fans as well as players in the NBA will be reduced drastically.
2. The market value for Leonard when he hits free-agency would in no way put him anywhere on the radar of earning a max-contract.
3. Leonard will take some time getting back to full-speed after only playing a minimal amount of games throughout the course of two years.
4. By listening and following the supposed council of his ‘camp’ and Uncle proves the lack of ‘backbone’ he carries.
5. Most interesting of all, what if the Los Angeles Lakers (Leonard’s pipe-dream destination) no-longer become interested?
6. If the Clippers land him, his fallback plan, will he be willing to accept going through a rebuilding process?
It really isn’t that hard. Be professional, Kawhi. You may have to suck it up for a year, and God forbid play for a team you don’t want to play for. Good news for you though, once you’re done and the season is over, you can chase whatever fantasy you have played out in your head and go sign with the Lakers (assuming they still require your services).