Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Raptors, Spurs close to deal around Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan

With rumors citing that San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard may end up with the Toronto Raptors soon, it might not be in the best interests of the team from Canada to pull the trigger on the deal.

"I think they're in the driver's seat for Kawhi because I think the Lakers have given up, the Sixers have given up", he said.

The star forward reportedly asked for a trade earlier this offseason, and has a desire to return home to Los Angeles to play for either the Lakers or the Clippers.

Some type of combination of DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakim, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka and a first-round pick has been bandied about in recent weeks.

From the Raptors side of things, they would likely just be renting Leonard unless they can make an overwhelming impression on him.

Second, if he plays, it's an opportunity for Leonard to demonstrate he's fully recovered (or close to it) after missing all but nine games last season to do a nagging right quad injury - the diagnosis, timelines and subsequent treatment of which is centre stage in the Spurs-Leonard divorce proceedings. Leonard was one of 35 players invited to participate in the camp, which will be led by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. We won 59 games past year without Kawhi Leonard, he's better than DeMar DeRozan'.

But the second - his upcoming free agency - remains the biggest road block in any potential Leonard deal.

The Raptors aren't the only team that has called about Leonard of late. Boston hasn't included five players, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford.

"If the Spurs are losing deal leverage", Wojnarowski and Shelburne write, "they aren't operating in a manner that suggests they're peddling a depreciating asset".

Leonard and Popovich reportedly met in San Diego days later to determine if the two sides could fix the relationship.

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