When a star says he wants out, and everybody in the NBA knows, the move is to trade him immediately. The longer you wait, the more said player’s value goes down.
The Spurs just learned that the hard way in a terrible deal for Kawhi Leonard. All San Antonio got for a Top 5 player in the NBA was this:
* Almost 29-year old DeMar DeRozan, who yes, is a 4-time All-Star (in the East), but he’s had two straight subpar playoff runs
* Jakob Poeltl, a 22-year old who has some upside, but wasn’t one of the four best young players in Toronto
* a 1st round pick that is Top 20 protected, and could turn into two 2nd round picks
Spurs fans are excited about DeRozan, but is he even an All-Star in the West? Curry, Westbrook, Harden, Lillard, Butler, CP3 and Klay were the picks last year. Remember, Paul George was an All-Star in the East, and didn’t make it in the West last year.
DeRozan didn’t want to be dealt. He’s coming off two straight playoff failures, where his shooting and efficiency stats fell significantly. He was benched against the Cavs this year in Game 3.
It’s a bizarre move for the Raptors, who won 59 games last year and then got excited when LeBron left for the Lakers. This was going to be your best chance to win the East … so you take a chance on a player who doesn’t want to be there?
The Spurs should have immediately capitalized on the thirst around the NBA for Kawhi, and taken the best offer. This goes back to the arrogance. Once teams got a chance to sniff around the situation and Kawhi’s “agent” … the price went down.
Look at it this way – in the span of a month, the Spurs were getting interest from the Lakers, 76ers and Celtics. In the span of a month, all of them backed off. It’s easy for teams to now say they weren’t going to include stars/rising stars (Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Jaylen Brown – players of that ilk) – once it was clear they weren’t trading those guys, they have to say that so as not to have future problems with those players.
When Kawhi demanded out in June, here’s the longest piece I’ve read about Kawhi Leonard for possibly Jaylen Brown. Was he on the table? We’ll never know. The Celtics want to keep a good relationship with Brown, so they’ll tell the media no.
Did the Spurs really think they could convince Kawhi to stay? Instead of putting their efforts in that bag, they should have put everything into trading him for the best package they could get, immediately. Instead of waiting a month, and getting a paltry return.