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Clippers' Kawhi Leonard and Raptors maintain mutual respect despite departure

LOS ANGELES — The previous teammates seem not likely to switch many pleasantries after they go paths quickly. The explanations don’t have anything to do with Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors sharing any misgivings. Leonard simply stays economical along with his phrases.

Therefore, Leonard didn’t appear nostalgic with the Los Angeles Clippers (6-Three) webhosting the Raptors (6-2) on Monday at Staples Middle. It’s been handiest 5 months since Leonard led Toronto to an NBA championship. It’s been handiest 4 months since Leonard left for the Clippers as a loose agent. And but …

“It’s like another recreation,” Leonard stated. “It’ll be a laugh to look the blokes once more and congratulate them and have the ability to shake arms. Then we’ll compete.”

That mindset in part explains why Leonard’s former teammates nonetheless recognize him. Despite the fact that he left a championship group, the Raptors arguably shouldn’t have gained one had they no longer got Leonard the former offseason from the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard accumulated his 2nd Finals MVP after averaging 28.five issues on 43.Three% taking pictures together with nine.eight rebounds and four.2 assists within the Raptors’ five-game collection win over the Golden State Warriors within the NBA Finals.

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His former teammates have no longer judged Leonard handiest on his manufacturing, regardless that. They recognize him for his paintings conduct, his versatility and unexpected vocal management. So although Danny Inexperienced and Marc Gasol weren’t solely certain if Leonard would keep or move following the Raptors’ identify run, they expected and understood his departure. Why no longer go back to Los Angeles so he can play for a championship contender and keep with regards to his fatherland in Moreno Valley?

“Whilst you discuss going again house to play for his neighborhood, I don’t assume that are supposed to ever wonder you. That was once a objective of his,” Gasol instructed USA TODAY Sports activities. “You must at all times need your teammates to be at liberty and be in a just right state of affairs. He must perceive from a participant perspective that we care about him extra on account of what we’ve been via. We would like him to be at liberty.”


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