It has not been a good morning to wake up as a Toronto Raptors fan. After what feels like a lifetime, decisions are starting to be made in the NBA free agency, and, sadly, things have not gone in the direction that most Canadians had hoped for with Kawhi heading to the Clippers and news that Danny Green is Lakers bound.
It was finally reported Saturday that Canada’s beloved Kawhi Leonard will be leaving the Raptors to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. If that was not enough of a devastating blow for Torontonians, it appears that Kawhi is not the only one leaving Canada.
Fan-favourite and fellow free-agent, Danny Green, will also be leaving Toronto ahead of the 2020 NBA season, after having reportedly signed a two-year, $30-million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to reports, Green had been waiting to make his free-agency decision until Kawhi Leonard had chosen a team. As news broke very early this morning that Leonard would be heading to the Clippers, it was only a matter of time before an announcement would come from Green. It was reported just after 2 AM ET that Green would also be leaving Canada for a Los Angeles team.
In a video on Twitter, Green confirmed the news that he would be leaving Toronto following the news that Kawhi would be moving on. In the video, Green thanked the Raptors and Toronto fans for what was “one hell of a run, and one hell of a year,” and acknowledged that the outcome of the free-agency had been “unfortunate for everybody, and the city of Toronto, and all of Canada.”
He ended the bitter-sweet recording by saying he would never forget this “historical run that we had.” Stop, Danny! You’re going to make us cry!
While this news wasn’t entirely unexpected, it doesn’t make the revelations any less of a heartbreak for Toronto Raptors fans. However, that last glimmer of hope, right at the end, that both of the boys might actually stay in Toronto, has made the news that bit harder to swallow.
Experts believe Green's decision to follow Leonard out is probably a wise one. With Kawhi gone, it is likely Green's utility could be better used elsewhere. According to RaptorsHQ, “The squad minus Leonard is not going to contend for a championship, which means Green’s unique brand of timely shooting and emotional steadiness is not as necessary now.”
Despite this devastating blow to the team, the Raptors will regroup, retool and make a new plan for next season. With a nation of endlessly proud Canadians and a whole new demographic inspired by Canadian basketball behind them, the team will find a way to make it work.
In the meantime, all that is left to do is wish both Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard the best of luck in their latest endeavours. Canada will be forever grateful. You’ll always be Raptors to us!