Are the Boston Celtics still the Favorites to Reach the NBA Finals?

Early this morning, news broke out that Kawhi Leonard will be traded to the Toronto Raptors. How does this trade impact the Boston Celtics, and are they still the favorites in the East?

Kawhi Leonard will be heading to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a first round pick. This news came as no surprise, as the San Antonio Spurs and Raptors were discussing this potential deal for days.

It is a blockbuster trade that will have an effect on the entire NBA, and most importantly the Boston Celtics.

Assuming Kawhi is healthy and willing to play, Toronto will be adding a top five player. This does not bode well for Boston, as they will now possibly have to go through the Raptors in order to reach the Finals.

Leonard is certainly a tough player to game plan for in a seven game series. Factor in  a solid supporting cast of Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, and Serge Ibaka, and the Raptors are now a scary team in the East.

The acquisition of  Leonard now adds the Raptors to the list of teams that can compete with Boston in the East. The Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks are on that list as well, but neither of these teams have the playoff experience or talent that Toronto possesses.

The Raptors could be a major rival of the Boston Celtics for the next half decade if Kawhi stays. As of now it seems likely that he will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers next summer, but anything can happen.

Overall, the Celtics still seem to be the favorite in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors will be excellent next season, but Boston is the more talented team.

Also, the Celtics have a superior coach in Brad Stevens which proves to be extremely beneficial come playoff time.

Toronto might be the second best team in the East after acquiring Kawhi, but the green are still the  favorites. The Eastern Conference next season still belongs to the Boston Celtics.