Kawhi Leonard
Stay or go, the Raptors won the Kawhi Leonard trade (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors are going to the NBA Finals. That phrase has never before been uttered. One man and one man only is responsible for taking the Raptors to new heights. No, it’s not that loser, Drake. It’s Kawhi Leonard. Much of the conversation has been around Leonard’s pending free agency. It doesn’t matter. Whether Leonard stays or goes, the trade with San Antonio will go down as a win for the Raptors.

Summer is finally here which means baseball. That’s my sport come summer time. There’s an important phrase when the trade deadline rolls around. When you have an opportunity to sell and don’t, it always comes back to haunt you. When you have an opportunity to go for it, you always go for it. That’s the perfect way to sum up why the Raptors pulled the trigger on the Kawhi Leonard trade in the first place. This Raptors team won more than 50 games a year since 2014. There was just one problem, DeMar DeRozan is a cancer.

However you want to break it down. No team can win a title with DeMar DeRozan as it’s best player. I’m not sure you can win period with DeRozan. The Spurs who have been the definition of success really couldn’t muster up anything with DeRozan. It just proved that he’s a bad defender, mid-range jump shooting pouter. That’s all he is. Whether it was Leonard or anyone else, DeRozan had to go.

Getting DeRozan’s contract off the books meant everything. That’s what getting Leonard for him was a win – win. If Leonard leaves, that means it’s time to start the rebuild. No harm, no foul. If Leonard stays, then they have a top 5 player in a market like Toronto. No brainer.

The Raptors accomplished everything they possibly could along the way. Toronto won the East. This organization has now done everything it could to put themselves in a position to keep Leonard. It’s an enticing sales pitch, Leonard is the best player on a team that’s going to the Finals. If Leonard leaves because it’s cold outside then that’s on him.