Toronto Raptors

Heat Check: Which team won the Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan trade?

Kawhi Leonard vs. DeMar DeRozan (NBA Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green on Wednesday. Which team won the trade?

Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I think both teams came out pretty good considering the unique circumstances that brought this trade about. I won't sit on the fence, though, and I'll say the Raptors have come out on top. Getting Kawhi Leonard alone - even if it's just for one year - is a win in itself, but when you add Danny Green to the mix it keeps Toronto in the conversation for the best team in the Eastern Conference. Are they better than a healthy Boston Celtics team at this point? No, but the gap is a lot smaller with Leonard and Green than it would have been with DeRozan and Poeltl.

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): I think the Raptors came out on top because they got the best player in the deal, but I could see the Spurs being the ultimate winners depending on how the next 12 months go. Not only is there a possibility that Kawhi Leonard leaves the Raptors next offseason - same with Danny Green, who is on an expiring contract this coming season - DeMar DeRozan should fit in well with San Antonio's existing core. Don't forget that the Spurs were a playoff team last season despite Leonard playing in only nine games. DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Spurs a dominant one-two punch that could keep them relevant in what is expected to be another grueling playoff race in the Western Conference.

James McKern (@jlmckern): I've tossed and turned on this one since the trade news broke, but I think I've argued with myself long enough about it to come to a conclusion. Major questions hang overhead on if Kawhi will remain long term in Toronto, but even if he's only in town for the one season I give the edge to the Raptors. Danny Green is the key here for mine - he'll help the Raptors enormously either off the bench or in a starting role. They're still third in the Eastern Conference in my book, but this roster should scare every other team come playoff time.

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I'll take three years of stability over one year of uncertainty, so I say the Spurs won this trade. While Leonard is one of the best of the league when healthy, DeRozan is no slouch. San Antonio is getting a perennial All-Star that is coming off of one of his best seasons as a pro. Looking back at DeRozan's body of work in the 2017-18 season, I expect the same under Gregg Popovich, if not better; I'm not sure Toronto knows what version of Leonard it's getting. Not to be forgotten, Jakob Poeltl will be 23-years-old this season. The 7-footer fits the mould of a player that can learn from the tutelage of Popovich and two-time champion Pau Gasol.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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