Despite entering the 2019 NBA Finals as the underdogs, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors succeeded in dethroning the Golden State Warriors and winning their first NBA championship. With their recent accomplishment, the Raptors proved toeveryone in the league that they made the right decision to trade DeMar DeRozan for Leonard last summer. However, even though they successfully captured their first Larry O’Brien Trophy, there is still a strong chance that Leonard could only be a one-year rental for the Raptors.
As of now, the Raptors are doing everything they can to convince Kawhi Leonard to re-sign in the 2019 NBA free agency period. If Leonard decides to join a new team, the Raptors are expected to be aggressive on the trade market, finding players that could help them defend their throne in the 2019-20 NBA season. According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, one of the potential trade targets for the Raptors in the 2019 NBA offseason is Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Yes, Wiggins has a tough remaining contract to swallow (four years, $121.2 million), but the Raptors stand to have significant cap space next summer with Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Fred VanVleet all coming off the books. They’re one of the few teams that can take on Wiggins’ money and still have max cap space next summer. While he’s nowhere near Leonard’s level, the Raptors could use his scoring from the small forward position. Wiggins has the physical tools to become a great defender, and playing alongside Pascal Siakim [sic] and Gasol would be a big help.”
Interesting stuff here, not used to see a California team be able to use taxes as an advantage to lure a player. According to this, Kawhi would make $11.4 mil more if he leaves the Raptors. And that's not with endorsements https://t.co/Up68VpwByc
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) July 2, 2019
Andrew Wiggins is still far from reaching the level of Kawhi Leonard, but he could still somehow fill the hole “The Klaw” might leave in the Raptors’ wing. Last season, the 24-year-old small forward averaged 18.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and one steal on 41.2 percent shooting from the field and 33.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Wiggins may have failed to live up to expectations for a No. 1 overall pick, but Swartz believes that playing for his hometown team could help him unleash his full potential.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Raptors will be sending Serge Ibaka to the Timberwolves in exchange for Wiggins and a 2020 first-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. If the trade becomes a reality, it will not only be beneficial for the Raptors but also for the Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves will be hitting two birds in one stone in the potential deal. Aside from getting rid of Andrew Wiggins and his lucrative contract, the Timberwolves will also be acquiring a quality starting power forward in Serge Ibaka. Ibaka’s contract will come off the books after the 2019-20 NBA season, which will enable the Timberwolves to open up a huge chunk of salary cap space in the summer of 2020.