Ex-NBA player Brown: ‘There’s just something about Kawhi; he brought a whole new defensive mentality’

When the Toronto Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs to acquire Kawhi Leonard this summer, they knew they were getting one of the best two-way players in the NBA, and so far this season, that has been the case.

After 32 games, Leonard and the Raptors(23-9) have the best record in basketball. The two-time All-Star has brought his defensive ways north of the border, including leading the team in steals.

Over the past three seasons, Toronto won 50 or more games, including a franchise-best 59 wins last year, but the regular season has not been the problem. The playoffs have been the issue, or should I say LeBron James has been the issue. Fortunately for Toronto, LeBron is out West with the Lakers.

The Raptors seem a little different with Leonard in the mix, so says former NBA player Chucky Brown.

 “I had a debate with my friend, and he said, ‘Toronto does this every year. They do that same thing every year.’ So I was saying that this year is different,” Brown recently told the Go4it podcast with host Paul Gant. “They got Kawhi there. No disrespect to DeRozan because I love DeMar DeRozan, but DeMar DeRozan doesn’t defend like Kawhi. There’s just something about Kawhi. He brought a whole new defensive mentality. Toronto has some long, young players. Then, you have Serge Ibaka, who’s a veteran player, so I think they could be a formidable opponent defensively.”

Toronto does have a lot of athletes on this roster, and more importantly, they have a healthy Kawhi Leonard, which means they have a great shot of going to the NBA Finals. It’s still early, and Boston, Philly, and Milwaukee won’t be easy to beat come playoff time, but the Raptors look like the best team in the Eastern Conference, and one of the best teams in the NBA.

Advertisements

Kawhi Leonard on playing in Toronto: ‘I came here with an open mind’

The Toronto made a bunch of big moves in the offseason. They brought in a new coach in Nick Nurse and traded their leading scorer DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs to acquire two-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard.

The 27-year-old Leonard, who played in only nine games last season due to a quad injury, can opt out of his contract at the end of the season, and according to reports, he wants to play in Los Angeles.

At this point, the Raptors main goal is to try to sell Leonard on the city of Toronto, which in the past has not always been appealing to NBA stars, but Leonard seems to willing to give the city of Toronto and the Raptors a chance.

“I want to play here. As long as I have on a jersey, I want to play basketball,” Leonard said at the team’s media day on Monday. “I came here with an open mind. I want to do great things. I want to make sure that I put my all effort on the court each and every night. By winning games, this how you get star caliber players to want to come here and play.”

If the Raptors have a successful season, which is very possible with the roster they have assembled. Leonard would probably be willing to stay in Toronto. However, if the team struggles, expect Leonard to be elsewhere.

Just like the Thunder did with Paul George, Toronto is going to have to take a wait and see approach with Kawhi Leonard.

Ex-Raptor Jamario Moon: ‘I think Kawhi is going to love Toronto(VIDEO)

Over the past few seasons, the Toronto Raptors had a lot of regular season success, but in the playoffs, specifically against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, the Raptors had some serious struggles, which caused their former head coach Dwane Casey to lose his job and led to the trade of DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs for two-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard.

On paper, the Raptors look like a better team, but it’s imperative for the Raptors to have a lot of success. First, because they want to win a championship, and the other reason is they want to keep Leonard, who can opt out of his contract next summer. Leonard reportedly wants to be in Los Angeles, but as we saw with Paul George, nothing is guaranteed.

Former Raptor Jamario Moon, who started his NBA career with the Raptors, believes Leonard will fall in love with Toronto.

“For me, Toronto was the first city I played in, and I loved it,” Moon recently told Paul Gant. “Toronto is like a cold Miami, or a cold Los Angles, so I love Toronto, me personally, but everybody got different opinions about different places. But I think Kawhi will love Toronto; the fans are going to treat him like God. They treated me like one of their own, so I feel like he’s going to love it because I loved my time.”

In the end, you don’t know what is going to happen, until it happens, but Toronto can get to the NBA Finals, especially with LeBron James out of the Eastern Conference.

Listen below as Moon talks the BIG3, Raptors chances in the Eastern Conference and Kawhi Leonard:

Stephen A. Smith: Kawhi Leonard to Lakers is not a sure thing(VIDEO)

With Kawhi Leonard on the roster, the Toronto Raptors have put themselves in position to be one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors won a franchise-best 59 games last season, but because they failed in the playoffs, changes were made. They fired their head coach, Dwane Casey, and traded their leading scorer in DeMar DeRozan. Now, Toronto has reloaded and looking to take that next step.

At this point, Leonard can become a free agent at the end of the season, and the two-time All-Star reportedly wants to play with the Lakers. However, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Leonard to the Los Angeles is not a sure thing:

Take a listen:


In the end, anything can happen, but for now, the Raptors have a player that can take them to the next level, especially with LeBron James out of the Eastern Conference.

Kenny Smith on Spurs: ‘They’ll still be a contending team in the West’

The Kawhi Leonard issue has finally been resolved in San Antonio. The Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 protected first-round pick.

Despite having Kawhi Leonard for only nine games last season, the Spurs did manage to win 47 games in the always tough Western Conference. In DeRozan, the Spurs get a four-time All-Star, who averaged 20 points or more per game for the past five years, including a career-best 27.3 PPG in the 2016-17 season. So, the Spurs are getting a terrific player,

According to TNT’s NBA analyst Kenny Smith, the Spurs can still be contenders in the Western Conference with the acquisition of DeRozan:

“He(DeRozan) could do what Kawhi has been doing for the Spurs,” Smith told TMZ Sports.  “They’ll still be a contending team in the West. He and LaMarcus Aldridge, they got a good team still. Then, they have a great coach, so the Spurs won’t miss too much of a beat.”

At this point, the Spurs are probably not on the level of the Warriors or Rockets, but they still can make some noise in the Western Conference, especially if Dejounte Murray takes the next step in his development. Plus, Aldridge is an All-Star and one of the better power forwards in the game.

With all that said, life after Kawhi may not be that bad in San Antonio.

Stephen A. Smith to Kawhi: ‘Enjoy Canada for a year; see you in L.A’

It finally happened. According to ESPN, the San Antonio Spurs will trade Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 protected first-round pick.

DeRozan and Leonard are reportedly not happy with the trade.

https://twitter.com/KanyeHasAnStd/status/1019561901016035330

Regarding this deal, Toronto gets better with Leonard in the lineup, but can they keep him moving forward? Leonard, 27, reportedly wants to play in Los Angeles and can be a free agent next summer.

Concerning DeRozan, he helps the Spurs now. The Spurs won 47 games essentially without Leonard, who played in only nine games due to a quad injury.

DeRozan, 28,  has three years left on his contract and can opt out in 2021.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith gave his thoughts on the trade via Twitter.

Take a look:

Even if Leonard leaves, Toronto still makes out pretty good with this deal. It became clear that they were not going to the NBA Finals with DeRozan and Kyle Lowry leading the way. Therefore, taking a shot at Leonard and trying to convince him to stay, is not a bad move, and with LeBron out the way, Toronto can be considered one of the favorites in the East.

‘IceMan’ Gervin thinks Leonard should take super max contract from Spurs(VIDEO)

Despite all the rumors and speculation, Kawhi Leonard is still a member of the San Antonio Spurs. While he reportedly wants out, Leonard has not spoken a word about his intentions publicly.

The Spurs can offer the two-time All-Star a five-year, $221 million deal, which is the most he could get from any team.

Hall of Famer and Spurs legend George “The IceMan” Gervin thinks Leonard should take the super max contract from the Spurs.

“I would go after the $219 million, but that’s me,” Gervin told goforitradio.com at the BIG3’s stop in Detroit.

Leonard played in only nine games last season for the Spurs due to a quad injury.

Listen below as Gervin talks Kawhi Leonard, and the last time he did a finger roll:

 

 

 

 

Stephen A. Smith: ‘All Kawhi wants to do is get the hell out of San Antonio and end up in L.A.’

At this point, we can only assume where Kawhi Leonard wants to play next season. He reportedly wants out of San Antonio and wants to be in Los Angeles. In terms of whether that is with the Clippers or Lakers, no one truly knows.

Leonard, 27, has put the Spurs in a tight spot because of his reported desire to be in Los Angeles.

“All Kawhi wants to do is get the hell out of San Antonio and end up in L.A,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith today on First Take.

Listen below:

The Spurs still have to do what is best for their organization. If I’m the Spurs, and I’m trading Leonard to a Western Conference team, I would rather deal him to the Clippers.

There is no way I would want LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard on the same team. That combination would be tough to beat for years to come!

The ideal situation is to trade Leonard to the Eastern Conference, but you may not get enough back in return because those teams are not sure they can re-sign the two-time All-Star.

Leonard can opt out of his contract after next season.

 

Report: Kawhi Leonard is open to joining the Clippers

Paul George went off the market on Saturday and stayed in OKC; LeBron James made the decision to take his talents to Southern California and join the Lakers, and now, the last big name we are waiting for is Kawhi Leonard.

The two-time All-Star reportedly wants to be traded from the Spurs, and you thought after James went to the Lakers, that Leonard would be on his way there, too.

However, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, that might not be the case. Here is part of what Charania had to say on The Herd with Colin Cowherd today:

“One thing that’s been made abundantly clear. I’m going to stress this: There’s no guarantee if Kawhi Leonard hits the market next summer he’s going to sign with the Lakers, period,” said Shams Charania on The Herd as transcribed by Total Pro Sports. “I think his options have broadened a little bit. There’s another team obviously in L.A. I think he’d be very much open to the Clippers.

“There’s a belief around the league that if the Sixers came hard, there could be potential there for him to potentially be there in the long-term.”

Listen to Charania’s interview with Cowherd below:

 

Marc Stein on Kawhi: ‘Philadelphia badly wants him'(Video)

Where Kawhi Leonard will play next season is a mystery at this point. Leonard reportedly wants out of San Antonio, and the Spurs are listening to offers from teams, according to multiple reports.

According to the New York Times writer Marc Stein, one team that really wants to get their hands on Leonard is the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Philadelphia badly wants him,” Stein said about Leonard on the Dan Patrick Show today.

After the draft, 76ers head coach Brett Brown said the team was “star hunting.” Well, Leonard fits the bill in terms of a star.

According to SI.com, the 76ers have offered Dario Saric, Robert Covington as well as a future first-round pick.  That first-round pick could be the 2021 Miami Heat unprotected first-round pick the Sixers obtained in their draft-night deal with the Phoenix Suns, according to the report.

In Saric, the Spurs get a young, tough, stretch four. The 24-year-old Croatian is a very good player with the potential to get better. Regarding Covington, he was a First Team All-Defense selection last season and is a solid 3-and-D player. Covington did struggle in the playoffs last season but is a decent player.

Furthermore, the 2021 first-round pick is unprotected, which means that if Miami is terrible in next couple of years, it could be a lottery pick.

It’s not a bad package and allows San Antonio to stay competitive now, and gives them an asset moving forward. For Philadelphia, the team gets the star they badly wanted and makes them serious championship contenders next season. Plus, it reunites Leonard with former Spurs assistant Brett Brown, who spent time with Leonard earlier in the two-time All-Star’s career.

As we know with the NBA, all these things could change, so sit back, and enjoy the ride!

Listen below: