What a signing, what an outcome since he came to play.
While everyone is disappointed that DeMar DeRozan is now in San Antonio, it was clear in this 2nd round of the 2019 NBA playoffs that the potential career-killing, high-risk move Masai Ujiri made in the summer to deal DeMar in exchange for Kwahi Leonard means Toronto will get through to the conference finals, even with a game or two remaining against Philly.
Forget the cold. What Kawhi has felt during this run is the implementation of the most effective marketing tool any manufacturer or team has at its disposal…..TRIAL.
Kawhi now knows exactly what this Toronto Raptors management team is all about. No BS! No 5-hour powerpoint presentations. No disappointment like Lebron must be feeling. Kawhi also has experienced first hand the impact of 35 million fans (an entire country) supporting this team.
If that kind of warmth and love does not influence his decision to return after we go deep into the playoffs, the way they came together as a team in Game 5 should. What happened against Philly was a culmination of Kawhi’s experience as a leader, in sharp contrast to games 2-4, where the entire team was were deferring to him. In Game 5 it was the team that delivered the victory…… with Kwahi as the driver.
Kawhi is human. Yes, he is a superstar basketballer. But he proved in leaving San Antonio, that life is about more than the money, especially when you are talking about amounts that dwarf anything 99.9% of us might hope to see in our lifetimes.
As life is about interactions, he has also seen how colorblind Canadians are. How we accept people for the sincerity of the person.
But let’s not forget that it was not just Kawhi who came in the trade, he arrived with a running mate and what the media felt was a key influencer in Danny Green. While Danny may be that….. his performance means that we want him to stay regardless of Kwahi’s decision.
Oh and all in for Masai also meant the acquisition of Marc Gasol in exchange for a much younger Jonas Valanciunas.
Basketball in this town is really fun to watch and Game 5 showed just what Toronto has in its Raptor team.
Kwahi’s decision will be based on experiences, which no presentation can do for an athlete. He has seen what the entire Raptors team of people are made of and how committed they are to winning.
Embrace what Masai has done using the time tested vehicle of sampling/trial to convince possibly the best player since Michael Jordan to help the Toronto Raptors to the NBA Finals!