Kawhi has arrived in Toronto… and he’s even smiling

Jul 24, 2018, 02:55
Kawhi has arrived in Toronto… and he’s even smiling

Under the leadership of DeRozan and All-Star guard Kyle Lowry, the Raptors reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 128-93.

DeMar DeRozan has bid farewell to Toronto. User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

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Despite coming off their best season in franchise history, he felt they still had to roll the dice and make a big change after failing in the playoffs again.

After Kawhi Leonard reportedly requested a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers, the San Antonio Spurs ultimately traded him and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.

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President Masai Ujiri took some criticism for making the decision to offload DeMar DeRozan - who had three years remaining on his deal - in exchange for a player who has just a year left on his. Ujiri and DeRozan had a conversation at Summer League that apparently assured the latter he would not move, but that obviously transpired differently.

DeRozan averaged nearly 20 points per game over his nine years in Toronto and led the Raptors to the number one overall seed in the Eastern Conference this season, but the team felt a change was necessary to reach the next level. He said he was not as clear as he should have been with DeRozan when they talked earlier this month. Not all, but some. The Raptors president was vague about just what he was apologizing for, other than some miscommunication, but he knew he needed to say he was sorry. DeRozan found long-lasting success in Toronto and will probably have his number retired at some point, but clearly, hard feelings exist from the USC product and his agent.

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Kawhi Leonard finally showed up in Toronto on Friday, which is good because the National Basketball Association team he now plays for has its home games in the largest city in Ontario.