Kawhi Leonard

LeBron lists reasons why he didn't demand the Lakers trade for Kawhi Leonard

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AP

LeBron lists reasons why he didn't demand the Lakers trade for Kawhi Leonard

Shortly after 5pm on July 1, LeBron James (through his agency) announced that he was going to sign with the Lakers.

Most people assumed that another superstar would be joining him in Los Angeles.

But Paul George chose to stay in OKC, and Kawhi Leonard was traded to Toronto.

On Monday night, ESPN's Rachel Nichols asked LeBron why he didn't essentially demand for the Lakers to do whatever necessary to acquire Kawhi.

"Because I love the young guys that they have, and I’m not trying to force my hand in no way, shape or form," LeBron said during a sitdown conversation with Nichols at his brand new I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. "I believe Rob (Pelinka) and Magic (Johnson) and Jeanie (Buss) have done an unbelievable job of reshaping what the organization should be in the last few years -- keeping Dr. Buss’ dreams and what he was all about, to keep that going.

"I feel like they know what’s best for the team, and I wanted to be a piece to continue that motion of being back to a championship franchise where they should be.”

The Lakers should get the opportunity to pursue Kawhi next summer in free agency.

The 2014 NBA Finals MVP will most assuredly decline his $21.3 million player option and sign a multi-year deal with the team of his choosing.

And if the Lakers don't get Kawhi, there are several other big-name players slated for unrestricted free agency...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Spurs' announcement of the Kawhi Leonard trade omits ... lots of stuff

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USATSI

Spurs' announcement of the Kawhi Leonard trade omits ... lots of stuff

The Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors on Wednesday morning, and here's what San Antonio's press-release announcement of the deal said about him:

"Leonard spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, appearing in a total of 407 games and averaging 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists."

That's it.

[RATTO: Kawhi Leonard trade widens gap between Warriors and teams chasing them]

You might notice that the Spurs chose not to mention that Leonard ...

 -- Was voted 2014 NBA Finals MVP
 -- Was selected All-NBA First Team in 2016 and 2017
 -- Finished second in MVP voting in 2016 and third in 2017
 -- Was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016

In addition, this was the Spurs' tweet thanking Danny Green:

This was the Spurs' tweet "thanking" Kawhi:

The font size is ... laugh-out-loud status.

But ultimately, you can't really blame the Spurs for acting like this.

You can firmly put this in the "bad breakup" category ...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Kawhi Leonard trade widens gap between Warriors and teams chasing them

leonardkawhijameslebron.jpg
AP

Kawhi Leonard trade widens gap between Warriors and teams chasing them

Wouldn’t it be odd if the Golden State Warriors actually became the last “super team” of this generation?
 
Kawhi Leonard, who was ticketed to the Los Angeles LeBrons as a sure thing by NBA fabulists across the nation, has been traded as far from Los Angeles as the NBA allows -- Toronto. And Paul George, the third peg of this super team, decided to stay in Oklahoma City, which is as far from Los Angeles culturally as the NBA can offer.
 
And no, that is not some left-handed swipe at Oklahoma City. If it’s good enough for Paul George, it ought to be good enough for you.
 
The point is, Leonard and Danny Green now are Raptors, at the price of DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick. And while Leonard still is a rental who might end up in Los Angeles, it's still a sign that super teams don’t just happen at one person’s whim.
 
And it also means that the Warriors, who introduce DeMarcus Cousins on Thursday in one of those weeks-after-the-fact press conferences that never make much sense, remain untroubled by the field.
 
It should be mentioned here that the Warriors, while fitting the rough definition of a super team, were a championship winner before Kevin Durant, and as such gained his love as someone who could dramatically lengthen the title odds for all the other teams in the league. And Cousins is a Warrior to rehabilitate his own career rather than Golden State’s.
 
The notion that James was going to Los Angeles to build a super team of his own was predicated, though, on other great players joining him, and none have. George wouldn’t even talk to the Lakers, and Leonard couldn’t because he didn’t own his employment freedom -- and might not have been interested in any event.
 
In short, the Warriors now are further from their closest pursuers than ever, and the most interesting part of this NBA season will be to see who comes closest to them without actually thinking anything can be done about it.
 
There is an extraordinary level of hubris here, as though the Warriors shall be invulnerable forever. They won’t, of course, for something will separate them eventually, most likely either time or money.
 
But the NBA’s most interesting developments have been at the fringes of the Warriors empire, and the most notable thing is that the super team to challenge them was not built this year, or even approached. The Raptors took a huge gamble with Leonard but one they are willing to undertake. The Rockets got worse. The rest of the West is sort of milling around playoff spots three through eight, with the Lakers making the biggest leap despite getting only one-third of the things on their shopping list.
 
But there is no super team to challenge the super team, and another narrative dies a hideous death. That’s OK, though. The concept of the narrative never is as much fun as the surprise ending anyway. Maybe someone will knock off Golden State this coming season, and the fascination will come not in the planning but the shock value. That’s not the way to bet, mind you, but the NBA arms race has stopped with only one clear winner.
 
At least for awhile. Given that LeBron couldn't make a super team in one summer, maybe for a longer while than we think.