As Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors are looking to tie up their series against Milwaukee Friday night, there is much more on the line than their postseason life.
Toronto GM Masai Ujiri sent franchise favorite DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs for at least one year of Kawhi. Their hopes for a long postseason run have been at least somewhat satisfied, but it might be a while before they get there again. But, if they do keep the 3x All-Star, they might secure another talent to play with him.
(via Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale)
The Raptors are a tantalizing destination for Davis insofar as they’re prepared to enter the running. They might not be. Kawhi Leonard needs to stick around for them to make this gamble, and his return is far from a given.
Going after Davis is a sales pitch to Leonard by itself. The Raptors can’t fork over the moon without a guarantee he’ll return, but the two parties can reach a mutual understanding: Get Davis, and Leonard stays put. Or Leonard could re-sign independent of Toronto’s interest in Davis. The Raptors are that good, and team president Masai Ujiri can view a potential Davis trade as a bonus pursuit of Leonard’s commitment.
Not many suitors can beat this package. The Raptors themselves will be hesitant to pull the trigger if they wind up winning the title. Pascal Siakam is a Most Improved Player favorite and a bona fide building block.
Of course, this type of move requires a commitment from Leonard. Giving up young talent for Davis only to have Kawhi sign with the Clippers is not ideal, especially because Davis himself is up for free agency next summer.
A Leonard-Davis duo, with Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol, would go a long way in helping end the country’s 26-year Championship drought. Ultimately, though, some dominoes will have to fall their way before that can become a reality.