First and foremost, Toronto is not a great free agent destination.
DeRozan has been the face of the organisation for many years and will be leaving as the all-time leading scorer in the team's history.
"Attempts were made to see what would be best, and in the end this trade appeared and we felt this was the way to go", Popovich said. Even though Leonard's people are posturing as though they're going to Los Angeles, the same was more or less true of Paul George last season after being traded to Oklahoma City.
The Raptors would nearly certainly need another 50+-win season and a deep playoff run if they want to convince Leonard to stay. "Soon you'll understand. Don't disturb".
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs stands for a moment of silence for the National Anthem before the game against the Houston Rockets during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2017 Playoffs on May 7, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Seeded No. 7, they were eliminated by defending champion Golden State, losing the first-round series in five games.
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Speaking on the Back To Back podcast today, National Basketball Association insider Bruce Arthur suggested Leonard had even begun making calls tentatively planning out his next move before his decision was made for him with the shock trade. The deal has been approved by the league and announced by the teams.
Under normal circumstances, this would be a tremendous win for the Raptors. Through 20 years of general irrelevance, the team struggled to be merely competent. His name will be all over the franchise's record books for years to come. "They will become important parts of the program". That process repeated itself last off-season, with Lowry and Serge Ibaka both re-signing with contract lengths that matched DeRozan's. The Raptors demonstrated last postseason that they needed change, and boy did they ever shake things up. Raptors coach Dwane Casey was sacked after the season, replaced by one of his assistants, Nick Nurse.
Tan says, because of everything DeRozan has done for the team and the city, it's going to be hard to see wearing a different uniform next season.
But Ujiri chose to not wait around to find out. The team acquired Hakeem Olajuwon that summer, and there was such excitement on the signing of Carter that the Toronto Sun headline read "IT'S V-DAY!" and the city's mayor declared August 1 to be Vince Carter Day in Toronto.