Spurs coach Popovich on Kawhi trade: 'Time to move on'

Video Pause AP De Mar DeRozan AP

". With DeMar coming to San Antonio, I couldn't be happier. It's a business and you understand the business, but from a player standpoint, it just sucks".

Popovich knows that people will always want to hear about the conflict between him and Kawhi, but he's ready to focus on the new players the Spurs just got from the Raptors (DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl) and completely move on from the drama of the past.

DeRozan, 28, who averaged 23.0 points last season, reportedly was assured by Raptors officials during the NBA Summer League he would not be traded.

Leonard, 27, has made no secret of his desire to play in Los Angeles, which has a slightly different November climate than Toronto. He took some time to reflect on Kawhi's past and future with the Raptors, and was particularly complimentary of Danny Green, who is also going to the Raptors as part of the trade.

The Raptors are taking a massive risk here, but, according to the ESPN report, they believe they can sign Kawhi to a long-term deal.

Two years ago, no one would have considered making the argument that DeRozan is a more valuable player than Leonard. He can pick his spot after this season.

Video Pause AP De Mar DeRozan AP
Video Pause AP De Mar DeRozan AP

While the impact Kawhi Leonard will ultimately have on the Toronto Raptors ability to win the National Basketball Association title won't be known for a while, Wednesday's trade has already vastly improved their betting odds to lift the Larry O'Brien trophy.

"Kawhi conducted himself wonderfully while he was here", Popovich said.

"Attempts were made to see what would be best, and in the end this trade appeared and we felt this was the way to go", Popovich said.

Toronto fired Dwane Casey, the league's coach of the year, after another playoff flop against Cleveland. Then they added Danny Green, so they got some experience, some winning but both guys are on the previous year of their deals.

Plus, the Lakers didn't have the sort of assets the Spurs would have wanted for an elite player like Leonard. You've got a rookie coach [Nick Nurse].

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