Kawhi Leonard finally addressed his exit from San Antonio weeks after being traded to the Toronto Raptors, and the former NBA Finals MVP saluted the Spurs' organization in a note to the city of San Antonio.
Popovich and Leonard appeared to have a fractured relationship at times during the Leonard's final year in San Antonio, when the disgruntled forward suited up for just nine games due to injury. Leonard, who missed almost all of the 2017 season with the Spurs with a mysterious quad injury that plagued him throughout the year, was reportedly asking to be traded by the Spurs behind closed doors.
Spurs doctors had cleared Leonard to return to play last season, but he sought second opinions and did not return, making his health a question mark following the trade.
In his letter, Leonard praised former coach Gregg Popovich, saying he will "always be grateful for my growth under your guidance".
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Gay says what separates the Spurs from other organizations and executives - including the subject to his subtext, Raptors president Masai Ujiri - was demonstrated in the circumstances that brought DeRozan to San Antonio.
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. There is not a more passionate or dedicated fan base than what I've witnessed in San Antonio.
The 2018-2019 regular season for the National Basketball Association will tip off October 16, with the Spurs regular season schedule due out this Friday.
"Through all the ups and downs - I'm glad there were many more ups!" The move reunites him with Gay, who played with DeRozan in Toronto for two seasons from 2013 to 2014. - I'll never forget what we shared and accomplished together.