Kawhi Leonard to Lakers twist following Raptors trade, Celtics open talks

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"Kawhi obviously worked very hard to become the player he is and our staff worked very hard to help him get there and we wish him all the best as he moves on to Toronto".

"So, we are very anxious to get them involved in the program and let them know how we do things".

While the impact Kawhi Leonard will ultimately have on the Toronto Raptors ability to win the National Basketball Association title won't be known for a while, Wednesday's trade has already vastly improved their betting odds to lift the Larry O'Brien trophy.

"With DeMar coming to San Antonio, I couldn't be happier", he said. Even though Kawhi has made it clear for quite some time that he didn't have any intention of ever suiting up in a Spurs jersey ever again, the moment is still bittersweet for a franchise that finally got to rid themselves of their disgruntled superstar despite the fact that he's a bona fide top 10 all-around player when healthy.

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Sportsnet's Michael Grange reports that DeRozan, a member of the Raptors since he was drafted in 2009, was assured by Ujiri that he would not be traded in a face-to-face meeting in Las Vegas. Someone I've respected and watched play for awhile now.

The Raptors have reportedly been in communication with Leonard's camp since the blockbuster deal and the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is reportedly starting to "warm to the idea" of playing with the franchise in 2018-19, sources close to the situation told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. DeRozan will nearly certainly give San Antonio more next year than Leonard gave the Spurs last year. Following Leonard's injury in the 2016-2017 playoffs, he only played nine games in the 2017-2018 season. Due $20.09 million this season, he already declined a five-year, $219 million super-max extension from the Spurs.

"Kawhi conducted himself wonderfully while he was here", Popovich said. Even with Leonard, Toronto might not make the Finals.

"DeRozan gave everything to Toronto, everything they asked him to do from the standpoint of loyalty", Wade said.

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