Sports

Kawhi Leonard speaks for first time since trade to Raptors

Kawhi Leonard speaks for first time since trade to Raptors

Kawhi Leonard released his first statement since the blockbuster trade that saw the Toronto Raptors land the star forward.

Much has been said about Toronto's treat to trade away DeRozan despite his loyalty to the franchise.

Leonard singled out Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in the letter, saying "I'll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance".

Shortly after a meeting between Leonard and Popovich, the Spurs moved the two-time National Basketball Association defensive player of the year to the Raptors.

He also thanked the fans (again). There is not a more passionate or dedicated fan base than what I've witnessed in San Antonio.

More news: Everton complete triple deadline day signings as Bernard joins Barcelona duo

In an interview this week with the Hartford Courant's Don Amore, the San Antonio Spurs forward praised his current team for their handling of the Kawhi Leonard situation while shading the Toronto Raptors for not offering the same courtesy to DeMar DeRozan.

Leonard obviously didn't address his supposedly frosty relationship with the San Antonio organization, but a few of his words - "through all the ups and downs" and "I have been going back and forth the last few weeks trying to figure out the right things to say" - seemed to at least suggest he's had a lot on his mind. "I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together", he said.

While last season was one to forget for Leonard, his time in San Antonio will be better defined by his 2013-14 campaign, when he helped the Spurs capture their fifth National Basketball Association title while being named MVP of the Finals.

DeRozan, a lifelong Raptor, was dealt to the Spurs in July as part of a package for the disgruntled Leonard.

However, questions remain about the status of a right leg injury that shelved him for all but nine games last season.


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