Kawhi Leonard And Danny Green Traded To The Toronto Raptors

The Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes Are Over, But Nobody Hit The Jackpot

Was this trade the right move for both teams?

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Last Wednesday, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were traded to the Toronto Raptors, ending a nearly 5-month hold out of communication with his now-former team the San Antonio Spurs. In exchange for Leonard, San Antonio received Demar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl.

In hindsight, this trade really doesn't help either team very much.

Yes, the Raptors acquired a top three player in the league. An NBA champion and finals MVP. But according to ESPN's Chris Haynes, Leonard has no interest in playing with the Raptors. And it's not like Toronto didn't know this before making the deal. Kawhi was adamant about going to one of the Los Angeles basketball teams (the Lakers or Clippers) yet they made the deal. Granted it was an absolute bargain. They essentially just swapped Derozan for Leonard which is like going from a Camaro to a Tesla. He will immediately improve their defense and give them physicality and be shooting on the other end. Although, Toronto will always have to worry if his heart is in it.

But this move was made banking on Kawhi agreeing to sign a long-term deal. It's definitely not impossible. Just look at Oklahoma City and Paul George. He wanted to go the Lakers after one year with the Thunder. But general manager Sam Presti was able to convince him otherwise and signed him to a five-year deal. But George didn't sit out for a whole year crying about how he wanted to leave the team he won a championship with. I'd guess that Toronto is going to experience the same Kawhi who'd rather waste a year to get to where he really wants to be.

Which brings us back to the Spurs. To keep it simple they got absolutely jobbed. For a player of Kawhi's stature, all they got was a backup center and a B+ shooting guard who chokes in the playoffs. Now DeRozan is not happy he left Toronto, but it would be completely out of character for him to sit out like Kawhi. One thing you can't knock him for is how hard he works. Early in Demar's career, he couldn't shoot past the free throw line. Now he is consistently hitting three-point shots.

Despite all of DeRozan's improvements, he's not Kawhi. And the fact that San Antonio only received a single first-round pick is head scratching. Usually, when a franchise gives away its best player, it's for a multitude of draft picks to build for the future. Something that the Spurs haven't really thought about since they drafted Kawhi. It isn't like they can bank on signing free agents either. Leonards main reason for wanting out is that the team couldn't sign more talent to put around him. And now that he's gone they're expecting players to want to come to play with LaMarcus Aldridge? I don't think so.

Despite how you feel about the way Kawhi conducted himself this past year, one argument that can't be combated is that he's changing the way players will migrate to other teams. Gone are the days of franchises controlling what happens to players. He is the first of what I, unfortunately, believe to be many more young players who will demand to play for one certain team and do whatever it takes to make it happen. Even though he didn't go directly to LA, Leonard still got away from the Spurs.

But was it the right move? Hell no. The Spurs are a class personified organization and have been in championship contention for the past 20 years. No one in their right mind would want to leave that. Unless you'd rather play for the team you grew up a fan of, who has been irrelevant for the past five years, and for 70 million dollars less. But hey, he'd look good in purple and gold

Cover Image Credit:

kawhinot / Instagram

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Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.
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With tryout season among us, it is so important that this be addressed before the teams for this upcoming year are formed. So many athletes that tryout, don't make the team they want and either quit to "take a year off" or jump ship to a gym that promises them to place the athlete on a higher level. I know that every athlete wants to be on level 5 team, the division is the most prestigious of all of them, especially because going to worlds is the end game for most athletes. The problem these days in the cheerleading world, is that our athletes are trying to level up at a rate that is just not quite realistic. If an athlete is on a level 1 team the chances of her being on level 4 next year is slim. It is necessary for athletes to experience each level for at least a year to learn all of the fundamentals of the level and build on them for their foundation as an athlete to be more concrete. This produces the best athlete possible.

A lot of athletes think that all that they need to jump levels is tumbling and that is just not the case. When teams are formed, coaches take a look at many different things, these qualities include but are not limited to: mental toughness, dedication, tumbling, stunting abilities, pace of learning, dance and attitude. Contrary to popular belief, there are so many factors that go into forming a team. This team not only has to be suitable for individual athletes but putting a team together is like a puzzle and as coaches we have to put a team together that will work well and have all the necessary percentages of skills to be competitive in their division.

We are concerned about building well-rounded athletes, not an athlete that is only capable in one facet of cheerleading. Some athletes are great level 4 tumblers, but have level 2 stunt ability and those two will not equal a level 4 athlete until we boost the stunting ability of said athlete. Putting an athlete on a team to just tumble is doing a disservice to not just the team, but also the athletes themselves. If this athlete joins a level 4 team to just tumble all year, when their tumbling progresses to that of a level 5 athlete, they will still have level 2 stunting skills and won't be put to good use when they are level 5 eligible. A well-rounded athlete is the kind of athlete that wins worlds.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When athletes take their time and learn their level, they are not just learning completely new skills each year, but building on them. If done correctly, each year an athlete should improve on all points of cheerleading and not just one. The rules in each level lead to progressions for the level that it directly follows, so that athletes can safely learn skills by going up the ladder one step at a time. What most don't realize is that skipping steps is such an unnecessary practice. If Susie stays on level 2 for an extra year, she is not "learning nothing", she is improving on the skills that she didn't quite execute completely the year before, this will perfect her performance in this level and give a more solid foundation for her to build on when she is on a level 3 team.

Pressure can drive athletes crazy. Parents, your athletes have so many years ahead of them to be on a level 5 team and go to worlds, so pushing for a 10 year old, that is just not ready, to be on a level 4 team is unreasonable. Let your 10-year-old learn maturity and mental toughness at a level that is more appropriate, when your athlete is pushing herself too hard it takes the fun out of the tryout process and creates unnecessary stress on the athletes. Lastly, please be sure to support whatever decision your coaches make for your athlete's placement, they know your child and they are not trying to hurt their pride, but build them up so they can accomplish all of their goals as an athlete. Know that the level your kid makes this year doesn't define him or her as an athlete, but helps them grow into the cheerleader they have the ability to become!

Cover Image Credit: National Cheerleaders Association

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Always Be The Overdressed Person In The Room

You'll make a better impression than being underdressed.

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I recently had jury duty (super exciting, I know) and I was stressing about what to wear. The notice said to wear something "appropriate for an appearance in court" but it also said that comfortable clothing was strongly suggested. I was confused and conflicted by these two sets of instructions, so I asked my family for help.

I had never served jury duty before, so I didn't know what to expect in any sense. I was on spring break from school so I brought home two different pairs of dress pants, two different nice shirts, my blazer, and a pair of black wedges to choose from. I also knew I had one more shirt at home to try out.

I tried on a few different combinations until I ended up with the wedges, fitted dress pants, a tank top, and the blazer. I felt great, I looked great, and I was ready to go.

Sitting in that room for six hours, just looking at everyone made me realize only about ten people were in business professional clothing. A decent amount of people were in business casual, but others were in completely casual clothes. I even saw a guy in Giants sweatpants and hoodie, and I realized that I was overdressed (but still comfortable).

I semi-recently realized that I tend to overdress for occasions. Could be something as simple as going to school or something as big as a celebration or an interview.

As I mentioned in my past article about having thick calves, I wore heels to school a lot in high school and I still do now in college. I love to wear dresses and skirts when it's nice enough to. For Christmas and Easter mass, my family and I wear suits and dresses while other families are in pajamas, sweats, jeans, and t-shirts.

I would always much rather be too dressy than not dressy enough. Heck, I wanted to wear a ballgown to prom (but I didn't). I love dressing up. I'm a very feminine person and I like to reflect that in my clothing style. I know that not everyone is like that and I don't expect you to read this and suddenly dress up every day. And when I say overdressed, I just mean dressier than you need to be.

If you're going somewhere and you're unsure of the dress code, take my advice and always overdress. It beats being underdressed and though you might end up getting looks either way, at least if you are overdressed, you'll have a confidence about you that won't go unnoticed.

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