Leonard made it clear that he wants to be in Los Angeles one way or another after this upcoming season, but the San Antonio Spurs weren't worried about pleasing the disgruntled superstar. Leonard was sent all the way to Toronto, something that the Warriors couldn't be happier about.
I don’t know how they keep doing this but somehow the Warriors won another big star trade that had nothing to do with them. https://t.co/hSIJfLz0vg— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 19, 2018
If Kawhi had gotten his way and landed in Los Angeles, Golden State would've had a legitimate threat in their own conference to derail their dreams of a dynasty. Would a Laker team with both LeBron James and Kawhi have actually beaten the Warriors? Quite possibly. Instead, Golden State will watch one of the few players in the NBA that can give them trouble as a versatile, athletic defender leave the conference and join a team that virtually has no chance of winning a finals matchup against Steph Curry and Co.
What else? Leonard's departure marks the end of an era in San Antonio. The Gregg Popovich-led team was one of the few that had the system and personnel to compete plausibly with the Warriors, yet they just downgraded their best player in acquiring DeMar DeRozen.
Overall, the Warriors stood by and watched their path to another championship only get easier. As of right now, there will not be another super-team in LA forming this season, which means the Warriors have no excuse not to win the Western Conference for the fifth straight year.
(Of course, there's still a chance that Leonard actually ends up staying out East, which would be another win for the Dubs.)
Still, it's same old, same old for the NBA. The Warriors just can't seem to lose in any scenario.