NBA News: Raptors to hire Kawhi Leonard's friend Jeremy Castleberry to their coaching staff
What's the story?
In case you didn't know
Jeremy Castleberry worked with the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant video coordinator and was Leonard's teammate in high school and in college at San Diego State.
Heart of the matter
Everyone might look at this as a move to persuade Leonard to re-sign with the team when he becomes a free-agent next summer. But according to ESPN's Ian Beagley, who first reported the hire, Jeremy Castleberry is a deserving candidate for the job and somebody the San Antonio Spurs did not want to lose.
Whatever noise this creates, going by Ian Begley's word, this move isn't going to hurt the Raptors. Obviously, the best case scenario is re-signing Leonard next offseason but the worst case is acquiring a more than capable person for the job who deserves the promotion from assistant video coordinator to a spot on the coaching staff.
The move is also justified given the huge risk that team President Masai Ujiri has taken in trading for Kawhi. It was late on the 18th of July that the Toronto Raptors traded for Kawhi and Danny Green and in return sending DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 1-20 protected 2019 first-round pick, that will turn into 2-second rounders if it doesn't convey, to San Antonio.
When Kawhi test free agency next year as a free agent, the Raptors can offer him a 5-year $190 million contract while the rest of the league can only offer a deal as good as a 4-year $141 million contract. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard's preference is still to sign in Los Angeles whether that's with the Lakers or the Clippers.
At the end of the day, the media hype around this hire only adds to the narrative and drama but it will be interesting to see whether Kawhi's current situation will be similar to what transpired with Paul George over the course of last season.
Will he change in mind with everything that goes in Toronto or will he remain adamant about heading to LA? That's something we will only come to know when Leonard makes his decision as a free agent next summer.