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Sportress of Blogitude

Gregg Popovich ‘couldn’t be happier’ over blockbuster trade with Raptors

Gregg Popovich on Wednesday weighed in on the blockbuster trade that netted DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick for the San Antonio Spurs. In exchange, the Spurs gave up disgruntled superstar Kawhi Leonard and standout player Danny Green in the process.

Popovich appears more than happy with the trade’s outcome and appears excited to move on from the Leonard-inspired drama.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Popovich told The Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps. “… I think this trade is going to work out great for both teams.”

Popovich went on to make kind statements about Leonard, despite the utter breakdown in their relationship that necessitated the trade.

Popovich reportedly did all he could behind the scenes to placate Leonard in an effort to keep the superstar in the fold. However, it was not to be, obviously. The Spurs head coach downplayed the negative stories surrounding Leonard’s baffling season in which he only played nine games due to a mysterious quad injury, calling them “unfortunate.”

That said, Popovich is eager to turn the page following such an unprecedented and ugly chapter in an otherwise storied history of the Spurs during his lengthy tenure. Specifically regarding acquiring DeRozan, Pop said, “To get back a proven NBA player and a proven All-Star, we have to be thrilled.”

The case can be made that the Spurs made out pretty well given the roadblocks placed in the organization’s way in light of Leonard short-circuiting his trade value.

But what’s interesting here is how the Spurs did not acquiesce to Leonard’s reported demand for a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, the Spurs shipped him to the Raptors, a team Leonard reportedly has no interest in joining.

In essence, the Spurs’ trading Leonard to Toronto was one final parting shot after he essentially deep-sixed their entire season. Well, that and the organization’s seemingly passive-aggressive sendoff of their onetime franchise cornerstone.