When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the Toronto Raptors became more aggressive in building a team that could fully dominate the Eastern Conference and contend for the NBA championship. They started by sending a trade package centered on DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Before the February NBA trade deadline, the Raptors engaged in a blockbuster deal with the Memphis Grizzlies to acquire All-Star center Marc Gasol. To boost their backcourt, the Raptors also decided to sign Jeremy Lin from the buyout market. In a recent interview, Kawhi Leonard praised the Raptors’ front office for making the team better.
Kawhi Leonard knows that they still need to work on their chemistry, but he expressed strong confidence that they have a real chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2018-19 NBA season.
“I think the organization did a good job of trying to make us better down this last stretch,” Leonard said, according to NBA.com. “Like I said before, time will tell where our journey is going to end, but I think we have a good chance of getting to the Finals and winning it. But we still got a lot of work to do.”
Since the acquisition of Marc Gasol, the Raptors have already started to show some improvements with their overall performance. However, Kawhi Leonard believes that they are still far from reaching their full potential. If the Raptors remain healthy and continue to develop their chemistry, they will be a huge threat to any powerhouse teams in the league, even to the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
NBA star Kawhi Leonard slams down $13.3 million for Southern California home https://t.co/qAdFIfbn3E— LA Times Real Estate (@LATrealestate) January 24, 2019
The outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season is expected to play a vital role in Kawhi Leonard’s decision next summer. When they traded for Leonard, Raptors President Masai Ujiri knew that he was planning to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent in the 2019 NBA offseason. However, like what the Oklahoma City Thunder did with Paul George, the Raptors are hoping that they can also convince Leonard to stay long-term in Toronto.
As of now, Kawhi Leonard is starting to love everything about the Raptors’ organization, but he admitted that his body has yet to adjust to Toronto’s cold weather.
“It’s a great energy out there. The fans come out, they’re very supportive. It’s a great city, there’s a lot to do, it’s just been cold,” Leonard said, via Sportsnet.