Exiting free agency, the common thought was that the Pacers ranked somewhere in the 3-4 range of the Eastern Conference hierarchy, behind both Boston and Philadelphia. After today's big news, perhaps Indiana gets knocked down a peg:
I actually like the move for Toronto. Is it a risk? Of course, but that team had already maxed out what they were going to accomplish with the DeRozan/Lowry core. With last year's embarrassing playoff sweep and the ouster of Dwane Casey, it makes sense for Toronto to shake things up.
At best, Leonard will be buy-in and be healthy for next season, giving the Raptors arguably the best pound-for-pound player in the East. Maybe he'll even re-sign an extension - hey, it happened for Oklahoma City with Paul George! At worst, Toronto is dumping the rest of a large commitment to DeRozan, which will carry him into his 30s. They don't give up any really meaningful assets - a non-Top 20 pick and you kept Anunoby and Siakam - and they even got a solid veteran (Danny Green) as a virtual throw-in. It gives them one of the top starting fives in the conference.
If Kawhi Leonard is even 75% the player he was in San Antonio, that probably puts the Raptors above the Pacers in the East pecking order, but what do you think? Leave your take on our Fox Sports 97.5 Facebook page.