Ledesma: Spurs Got The Best Deal They Could

The Spurs moved their disgruntled star for a four-time All-Star in his 20s. Not bad.

The DA Show
July 19, 2018 - 12:50 pm

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In the end, the San Antonio Spurs had no choice but to trade their franchise cornerstone, sending Kawhi Leonard – along with Danny Green – to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick.

Was this the best deal the Spurs could have gotten?

“Considering the circumstances, yes,” Spurs analyst Hector Ledesma said on The DA Show. “When Kawhi made the trade demand and he said he wanted to go to L.A., the first thing you thought from a Spurs perspective was assets, young players, draft picks. You didn’t think they were going to get an established All-Star. For the Spurs to get a four-time All-Star out of this, I think, is as good of a deal as they could have gotten.”

DeRozan has averaged at least 20 points in five consecutive seasons and was a second-team All-NBA performer in 2017-18.

“The days of the big-name blockbuster trade – where you give up one star to get another – those days are gone,” Ledesma said. “So given what I just explained and given the reality of the pro-sports trade where salaries shave to match and the numbers have to work – yeah, I think they got the best deal they could.”

DA wondered if this deal – trading Leonard for an established player, not young players or draft picks – was due in part to Gregg Popovich’s age. He turns 70 in January and likely wouldn’t want to endure several lottery-pick seasons at this stage of his career.

Ledesma, though, doesn’t know if that was much of a consideration.

“I think it was more about getting the best possible value for Kawhi right now,” he said. “If you put yourself in the Raptors’ shoes, you make this deal because think you have a shot to win the East right now. With LeBron no longer there, with Boston and Philly only getting better as the years go on, your shot to win the East is now. I think they looked at their roster and they thought, ‘We’re good, but we’re not good enough.’”

Spurs fans can relate.

“The Raptors remind me of the old Spurs, the pre-Duncan Spurs – the David Robinson and Sean Elliott Spurs,” Ledesma said. “You knew they were going to win between 50 and 60 games, you knew they were going to win maybe one playoff series just about every other year, but you knew the ceiling was the conference finals. They were’t going to do anything. That, to me, is the Raptors in the LeBron-in-the-East era. Now that he’s gone, I think they’re looking at a chance to strike. 

“If Kawhi is right and you add him to that Raptors core, maybe they might be able to strike now – not a couple of years from now, but right now – and beat a Sixers team that is still coming into its own and a Celtics team that I think is going to be pretty darn good. But if you’re going to beat them, now is the time to beat them.”