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NBA Trade Rumors: Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard to Raptors

For the Lakers, the waiting game begins as the Spurs opted to send Kawhi Leonard north to the Raptors.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs have reportedly agreed to a trade that would send Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors and land DeMar DeRozan in Texas, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, this means it’s time to play the waiting game and watch from afar to see how things play out during Leonard’s time in Toronto. Frankly, given the other potential destinations (the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers come to mind), this is one of the landing spots the Lakers might prefer — aside, obviously, from in a Lakers uniform for pennies on the dollar.

There’s risk either way here.

On one hand, the Lakers risk another Paul George situation where they opted not to use valuable assets to trade for a guy who was reportedly “hell-bent” on coming to Los Angeles only to see him swayed by a year in Oklahoma City.

Conversely, the Lakers could use those assets in a Leonard trade only to see him not mesh fully with LeBron James or the organization and lose him in free agency anyway a la Dwight Howard.

Toronto now has a year to convince Kawhi of its future and ability to compete in a LeBron-less east. Their path isn’t exactly clear given how bright Philly’s future is as they build around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid or Boston coming into next year with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to add to a team that reached the conference finals while seeing improvements from their young core as well.

If Leonard loves Toronto enough to stay long-term, the Lakers’ options on the free agency market are much more viable than they were this year after George opted to stay in OKC. Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler and Kris Middleton could all hit free agency, giving the Lakers quite a few directions they could go in, not to mention guys who might hit the trade market as the end of their deal draws nearer as well.

Next season was already going to be fascinating as we get to see LeBron figure things out on the fly in L.A. Add Kawhi-watch to that and, well, can we get this thing going already?

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