Raptors Get De-Klawed
After months of speculation and rumour-mongering, the Kawhi Watch has come to an end. In the early hours of Saturday morning, around 2 am, Kawhi took his Klaw and ripped the hearts out of millions of Raptor fans as he packed his bags and returned home to LA.
This one cut deep and I am struggling to not take a Skip Bayless approach to this news. I won't behave like the crazy ex, however, when I finally put the tub of ice cream down, I may refer to Kawhi as Number Two moving forward until time heals this heartbreak. Perfectly normal behaviour for someone who just lost his NBA championship virginity in a one year stand.
Although the Finals MVP remained a blank slate throughout this entire process, many of us in the North were blindsided by the news. Number Two became the first player in NBA history to win the finals MVP and jump ship the following year, putting the Raptors on the wrong side of history once again.
Unlike the 'experts' down south, who predicted every other destination other than the Clippers, I had to exercise my due diligence before I got to the bottom of this answer.
The focal point of Kawhi's career is his health and longevity. With number two joining LA's second team, he makes a significant medical upgrade from Coach Nurse to Coach Doc. I have no qualms with someone who puts their health and family first but that could have been us, Kawhi.
All salt aside, he began earning our forgiveness when he sent the LA Lakers on a wild goose chase, while he was solidifying his own plans, meeting Paul George to join forces on the Clips.
That power move disrupted the Lakers from completing their big three and brought balance to the league, making the NBA the most competitive it's been in a decade.
Due to Kawhi's indecisive nature of this process, that dragged on 6 days longer than expected, it created the most absurd off-season the NBA has ever witnessed. The Clips swayed Number Two over the charm of Toronto by trading for Paul George, giving up 4 first-round draft picks and two promising, young players, executing the biggest off-season trade in NBA history.
Toronto almost gave into the Klaw's demands, requesting we trade for Paul George. Although Masai wasn't interested in playing managerial chicken with other GMs, refusing to gamble our future. That's why he is the most sought-after executive in the NBA and why the 2019 NBA champions are in great hands moving forward.
Sure, the Raps may have to hit the reset button this year but we have plenty to look forward to.
- We have Masai and over 100 million cleared up in cap space for a heavy lineup of free agents next summer (next month I will start the rumour of spotting Giannis at the Taste of Danfourth).
- We have Spicy P who is getting zestier every season and became this year's Most Improved Player.
- We raise a championship banner this October with a team that went 18-5 without Kawhi Leonard last season.
And since it's very unbecoming for a champion to complain, I won't allow my bitterness to cloud my appreciation for the greatest athlete I ever witnessed in Toronto sports. Kawhi brought salvation to a franchise that was doomed. He came here and gave us his all, playing through injuries and risking his future, while galvanizing this entire country. We won the NBA championship in a super team era with only one superstar, unanimously becoming the greatest NBA champions ever ( I don't make the rules). He brought this city alive and changed the basketball culture forever.
We have transitioned from the Vince Carter Effect to Leonard's legacy and I'll always be grateful. I wish number two the best and hope he terrorizes LeBron James at the Staples Center for the next four years.
But -- he needs to return that Kawactus immediately. It was a homecoming gift, not a parting gift.