SAN ANTONIO — Toronto Raptors wing Kawhi Leonard acknowledged that “at occasions” he wishes issues would have gone otherwise throughout his acrimonious break up from the San Antonio Spurs, including that his time with the franchise “meant so much” for his improvement.
However Leonard declined to reply when requested why he needed out of San Antonio and is not sure how he’ll be obtained Thursday when he faces the Spurs for the primary time because the group traded the ahead and Danny Inexperienced to Toronto in trade for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round choose.
“I put up blood, sweat and tears carrying that [Spurs] jersey,” Leonard mentioned throughout Toronto’s shootaround on the AT&T Heart. “I put [in] lots of work right here.”
Kawhi Leonard will return to San Antonio for the primary time since being traded to Toronto, however Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is not eager about rehashing the previous.
The Spurs traded Leonard in July after the ahead requested the crew transfer him, as the perimeters could not discover decision to points arising all through a season-long saga that concerned the crew and participant disagreeing on facets of his rehabilitation from a quadriceps harm.
Requested particularly why he needed out of San Antonio, Leonard mentioned, “I am not going to focus on that right here right this moment.”
However Leonard did admit he wishes the drama between him and the Spurs had performed out otherwise.
“At occasions, yeah,” Leonard mentioned. “Nevertheless it’s a brand new 12 months, new season. I am simply taking a look at what’s in entrance of us proper now.”
And that is a 21-17 Spurs crew on a two-game profitable streak trying to rise within the Western Convention standings. Leonard will probably be competing in what’s certain to be a hostile atmosphere on the AT&T Heart.
The Spurs have put collectively a number of video tributes for each Leonard and Inexperienced to have a good time their contributions to the group, in accordance to sources. However they’re contemplating not working the tributes in the event that they anticipate an excessively adverse response from the followers to the two-time NBA Defensive Participant of the Yr.
Leonard is not fearful in regards to the reception, saying that a adverse response “can solely make me a greater participant.”
Inexperienced, in the meantime, expressed optimism that each he and Leonard would expertise a constructive reception of their returns to the AT&T Heart.
“I am ready to see,” Inexperienced mentioned. “I hope for one [reaction], predict and guess one other. I am ready to see similar to everyone else. We’ll see what the followers present. I suppose within the larger image, it truly is simply one other recreation. I feel for either side the fellows which have been within the commerce and have been moved and performed for each organizations, it is undoubtedly most likely just a little extra.”