SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are being traded to the Toronto Raptors in a deal that includes DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, the San Antonio Spurs confirmed Wednesday morning.
The news slowly broke overnight. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported that the Raptors had completed a deal to acquire Leonard in a trade package that includes All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, but the other players involved had not yet been notified.
Wojnarowski tweeted after the initial ESPN report that the "trade is larger on both sides, and players are still being informed of their inclusion in the deal." He added that there would be a trade call with the league office Wednesday.
Leonard, who turned 27 on June 29, played in only nine games last season while he struggled to overcome a mysterious quadriceps injury that kept him out of the lineup until Dec. 12. He played for only one month before missing the remainder of the season.
DeRozan, who will be 29 on Aug. 7, has played nine seasons in the NBA, all with the Raptors. He was selected by Toronto with the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft. A four-time All-Star, DeRozan averaged 23.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 33.9 minutes in 80 games last season.
DeRozan, 6-foot-7 and 221 pounds, has averaged 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 34.1 minutes during his NBA career. He played college basketball at Southern California for one season (2008-09) before turning pro.
Leonard sent shock waves through the NBA after the season when reports surfaced that he wanted out of San Antonio. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich met with him in San Diego, but Leonard didn’t budge from his position.
Leonard requested a trade to Los Angeles, preferably the Lakers, but that speculation cooled off earlier this month after the Lakers came to terms with free agent LeBron James. The L.A. Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics also have been mentioned among Leonard’s suitors.
The diagnosis of Leonard's injury and subsequent rehabilitation drove a wedge between the Spurs and Leonard, who wound up getting a second opinion and rehabbing in New York for most of the second half of the season. Leonard stopped going to games late in the regular season and was not on the bench for any of the team’s five playoff games against champion Golden State in the first round.
On Monday, Leonard became eligible to sign a five-year, $219 million contract extension with the Spurs this season. He signed a five-year deal in 2015 worth more than $90 million. The contract runs through the 2019-20 season, but Leonard could opt out of the deal after the 2018-19 season and become a free agent.
A two-time All-NBA selection, Leonard also has been named NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice. He had his best season as a pro in 2016-17, averaging career highs of 25.5 points and 3.5 assists. He added 5.8 rebounds in 33.4 minutes while shooting .485 (636/1,311) from the floor, .381 (147/386) from beyond the arc and a personal-best .880 (469/533) from the free-throw line.
Leonard played two seasons at San Diego State before turning pro in 2015. He was selected by Indiana with the 15th overall pick in the NBA draft that year, but was subsequently traded to San Antonio for George Hill on draft night. Leonard has averaged 16.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals in his NBA career.
Leonard and DeRozan were both aware that an agreement between the Spurs and Raptors could be in the offing, but neither has expressed enthusiasm for the deal, sources told ESPN. Negotiations between San Antonio and Toronto started to heat up about the trade two weeks ago, the sources said.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri reportedly expressed confidence that he could persuade Leonard to re-sign with Toronto next summer in free agency. Toronto would be able to offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract next summer. If Leonard left the Raptors, he could sign a four-year, $141 million deal with a team with the available salary-cap space.
DeRozan has three years and $83 million left on his contract, including an Early Termination Option for the 2020-21 season.
The Raptors (59-23) finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, but were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs.
The Spurs went 47-35 and struggled to make the playoffs last season. Seeded No. 7, they were eliminated by defending champion Golden State, losing the first-round series in five games.