We all know the big news in the NBA now as Kawhi Leonard was finally traded from San Antonio. Before the rumors, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston were said to be the top destinations for Kawhi Leonard. Two days prior to the trade, the rumors ran rampant about Toronto being the favored to land Kawhi Leonard. DeMar DeRozan was traded to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard, which included a few other pieces, but those are the main names. With this, we’ll focus on the move to Toronto for Kawhi Leonard, the Eastern Conference, Toronto and the entire NBA. Before injury, we can argue that Kawhi Leonard is probably the2nd or 3rd best player in the league. Lebron James is by far the best and we can include Kevin Durant, but Kawhi Leonard can change the course of the game.
How It Affects Toronto
Toronto has made some significant moves during the offseason. After having the best record in the Eastern Conference last year, they were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2nd round. First, they fired the Coach of the Year in Dwayne Casey. By trading one of the franchises greatest players, they get another great. With Kawhi Leonard, they get a player that can score just like DeRozan. The difference Kawhi Leonard makes is on the defensive end as he’s one of the best in the league. With all the young pieces that the Raptors have and still having All-Star point guard, Kyle Lowry Toronto will be one of the favorites. Boston and Philadelphia will also be the frontrunners in the East, but Indiana, Milwaukee, Washington and possibly the Bulls could have great seasons. Having Kawhi Leonard in the Eastern Conference is a game changer and could be huge for Toronto.
How It Effects the Eastern Conference
The West will be as tough as ever, but the Eastern Conference has its share of great teams. As mentioned above, Boston and Philadelphia will most likely be the favorites. If Boston can have a healthy Gordon Heyward and Kyrie Irving, they could have an historic season. Philadelphia will be a year advanced into their development and could make a huge leap. Toronto was the best team last year and they could very well be back in that position this year. If I had the predict, I’m thinking they’ll finish with the second best record this season behind the Celtics. If Kawhi comes back healthy and plays the entire season, he’ll be in the running for league MVP.
How Will Kawhi Leonard Do?
All of these predictions are with the thinking that Leonard comes back at 100%. Kawhi Leonard was a beast in the crowded Western Conference, he’ll be even better in the Eastern Conference. Will the Toronto Raptors repeat their 59-win performance from last year? It’s a possibility, but I don’t think it’s likely as some teams have improved in the East. Will they be a better team? When they start to gel together, they could be a better team and I believe they’ll be in the Eastern Conference Finals this year.
Will He Stay in Toronto After This Year?
There have been so many rumors about his future and even more after the trade. One said he wouldn’t report, but that has been proven to be false because he’s in Toronto now. If Toronto were to have a great season as many predict, he’ll stay with the Raptors long term. With the Raptors, they are building an excellent brand up there and have some young pieces to build with. With the dismissal of Casey and trading DeRozan, it could sway his decision not to stay with the team. You have to remember, this is a business and how long will Kyle Lowry will be playing at an All-Star level? Either way, I think Kawhi Leonard will love playing in the East either way.
What do you think about the trade of Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors? Do you think it’s a good trade for Toronto? How well do you think Kawhi and Toronto will do next year? Leave a comment below.