Kawhi Leonard shook up the NBA along with his determination to signal with the Clippers in free company just some weeks after main the Raptors to its first NBA title in franchise historical past.
Whereas the Raptors remained assured that Leonard would re-sign with Toronto and proceed to construct a legacy, the star finally selected to return to his hometown of Los Angeles and pair up with Paul George.
Leonard’s determination made a huge effect on the league as an entire – however how will it have an effect on the Raptors, town of Toronto and the East?
No outrage for Toronto, simply disappointment
After ready till late Friday night time (or the wee hours of Saturday morning for the East Coast), Leonard lastly made his free company determination whereas town of Toronto anxiously awaited what was subsequent for the star. A lot to town’s disappointment, Leonard determined to maneuver on after only one season with the Raptors.
Some could query whether or not this taints his legacy in a metropolis the place he made such a major affect in such a short while as he turned an icon all through the nation of Canada, however the general consensus and preliminary response from Toronto is that it will not. Sure, the Raptors would have beloved to have Leonard again. However no, there will not be outrage.
The Raptors took Leonard in after a drama-filled season with the Spurs amid questions surrounding his well being. Toronto did what it might to handle and preserve his well being. And as TSN notes: “They did everything they were supposed to do and more. They did everything right but it still wasn’t enough.”
It’s going to be a tough goodbye, however there should not be arduous emotions.
Raptors seemingly will keep the course and develop
The Raptors had a pair choices coming into free company: To remain the course with their younger expertise or to make drastic adjustments in preparation of shedding Leonard. So what are they going to do with out the NBA Finals MVP?
They’re seemingly going to remain the course and preserve constructing round their younger core. Toronto may attempt to add two or three mid-level sort gamers to fill the void as a result of there are not any clear stars left.
The Raptors have executed a very good job drafting in recent times so it is sensible to maintain investing within the expertise they have already got. A participant like Pascal Siakam might should step up and be a constant playmaker, and let’s not neglect about OG Anunoby, who was sidelined for a lot of the playoffs.
Clearly, there isn’t any solution to change a top-10 participant like Leonard, but when Siakam and Anunoby step up, the Raptors will keep within the combine.
The East is large open once more
The story final summer season was about how large open the East can be with out LeBron James, who left the Cavaliers to signal with the Lakers in free company. It is the identical story this 12 months.
The Raptors stunned everybody by knocking out the defending champion Warriors within the NBA Finals. If Leonard did keep in Toronto, the Raptors would seemingly be among the many favorites to win the championship.
Now, it is anybody’s title to win because the West continues to construct.