The Raptors made one of many largest splashes of the NBA offseason by buying and selling star taking pictures guard DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs in alternate for two-time Defensive Participant of the 12 months Kawhi Leonard. Apparently that wasn’t the one deal Toronto thought of involving DeRozan.
Of their seek for change, the Raptors reached out to the Thunder about swapping DeRozan for Paul George final season, in accordance with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. As a part of his story detailing the Raptors’ problem in conserving Leonard past this season, Mannix experiences staff president Masai Ujiri contemplated main modifications earlier than Leonard hit the commerce market.
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[Raptors general manager Bobby] Webster had been the one to kick-start negotiations with the Spurs, and Ujiri had been itching to shake up the roster, even earlier than Leonard turned out there. (Final season, he approached the Thunder a few Paul George-for-DeRozan swap.)
Since Ujiri took over basketball operations in 2013, the Raptors have been persistently good, by no means sinking beneath 48 victories. However they by no means felt nice. “I’ve a mandate… to win a championship,” says Ujiri. “You possibly can’t proceed doing the identical factor time and again. We gave an opportunity to [that] staff. We tried to construct it as a lot as we are able to.”
It is unclear whether or not Oklahoma Metropolis expressed any curiosity in buying DeRozan, however there probably would have been a number of items coming from Toronto as a result of George is a greater all-around participant than DeRozan. Maybe it was higher for all sides that the Raptors discovered a workable commerce with the Spurs.
Leonard is a reputable MVP candidate as soon as once more and DeRozan is main a Spurs staff instantly on the rise within the West. After signing a four-year, $137 million contract with the Thunder in the beginning of free company, George is placing collectively arguably the very best season of his profession.
Now, the Raptors discover themselves in the same place because the Thunder final 12 months, taking a threat on a star participant and hoping their infrastructure will persuade Leonard to re-sign this summer season. That is nonetheless a great distance off, however a 30-12 begin to the 2018-19 marketing campaign should not harm Toronto’s odds.