The "Against" Perspective: The DeMar/Kawhi Trade

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Article Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)


The Toronto Raptors have traded DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

My initial thoughts on this is that the Raptors definitely lost this trade. 

Not only do they lose arguably their best player in franchise history, but they also lose a great young talent in Jakob Poeltl. DeMar has led the Raptors in scoring for the past five seasons, and he scored the most points in franchise history with 13,926.

Here are the records DeRozan holds with the Raptors:

  • Most games played
  • Most minutes played
  • Most field goals made
  • Most free throws made
  • Total points scored

Jakob Poeltl was coming into his own with Toronto, and was the only Raptor to play in all 82 games this season. Poeltl had carved out an important role with the bench, and he was a key component of "The Bench Mob." The Bench Mob led the league in net rating (points scored minus points allowed, per 100 possessions) with almost 28 points. Only two other five-man lineups are above 20+ points (Timberwolves and Rockets). Jakob averaged 18.6 minutes per game, and put up 6.9ppg and 4.8rpg. 

The Raptors are receiving Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green as part of this trade. Green put up 8.6ppg this year, but he is known more for his 3-and-D abilities. Danny's defense rating was 102.3 and his opponents FG% when guarded by him was 46.0. Green is not the same player he was back when the Spurs were in the finals. He has no longer been shooting the ball as well from deep, but he is still a serviceable player.

Kawhi Leonard is the biggest uncertainty from this trade and this off-season. Kawhi only played 9 games this year because of a "mystery injury." It was made clear that towards the end of the season that Leonard could return to the Spurs, but he chose to sit out. Now it has been made apparent that Kawhi is determined to go to the Lakers next free agency, and he was willing to sit out unless he was traded to Los Angels. There have already been reports that Kawhi has no desire to play in Toronto.

This is similar to the Paul George trade that went down last year. PG reportedly had no desire to play in Oklahoma City, and he ended up resigning with a long term deal. The Raptors are hoping that Kawhi does the same, but only time will tell.

Basically, it seems like the Raptors traded their best player in franchise history for a one year rental player who has no desire to be in Toronto. 

Last but not least, the Raptors have lost the respect of DeMar DeRozan. According to sources, DeMar met with Raptors officials during the Las Vegas Summer League and he was promised he would not be traded. DeRozan is reportedly extremely upset (via David Aldridge).

The front office of the Raptors ended their ties with DeMar DeRozan on a bad note, but there is no doubt that DeMar DeRozan has been the savior of the Toronto Raptors. Vince Carter put the team on the map, but DeMar took it to the next level and brought them success in the playoffs. If the organization has any respect for what he has done for the city of Toronto, #10 will be hanging in the rafters and there will be a DeMar DeRozan statue outside if the Air Canada Centre when it's all said and done.


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