'We’re going to be just fine. We’re going to be all right.' Masai Ujiri and the Raptors know it's time to move on from Kawhi Leonard. (michaelgrange)
What’s done is done. The Raptors have their rings, Kawhi Leonard has made his way home. Time to move on.
After a year spent hovering around Scotiabank Arena in a transparent recruiting process that likely didn’t matter to Leonard until the Clippers were able to pull off the stunning trade for Paul George to give him his preferred running mate in his preferred place of work, the Clippers thought it had all gone for naught.
How close did the Raptors come to keeping Leonard? Maybe not as close as the Clippers thought the Raptors were but internally the Raptors believed a perfect season — Leonard’s spectacular return to health, a run to the title and the overall environment — would be enough to convince him to stay.
And by the time Leonard was on an MLSE executive jet to Toronto from Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 3 — and a pair of SUVs carrying Leonard’s party was tracked by a news helicopter on their way from the airport to a meeting at a downtown Toronto hotel — there was a feeling that things might not be breaking the Raptors way.
No hard feelings though. Leonard came, conquered and left the Raptors with a championship.
Often championships are won after leveraging a franchise’s future, but the Raptors don’t have that issue. They have all their own picks. They have some good young talent. This week in Las Vegas they will begin meetings aimed at securing a long-term future with the Raptors for Pascal Siakam, an emerging star who could be in line for a five-year extension worth about $168-million. OG Anunoby is just scratching the service of his considerable talent. The coaching situation looks solid and positive.
The idea that Leonard should somehow be faulted for being calculating in seeking out his best option for his next contract, for pushing Ujiri to enter trade discussions that would have meant jettisoning teammates he had just celebrated winning a title with, or allow the Raptors to be used as leverage to push the Clippers into making the deal that landed George is willful ignorance.
A year later the details are almost unimportant and the facts speak for themselves. In order for Ujiri to get the Raptors to where they needed to go he felt compelled to trade the L.A. kid who swore his allegiance to Toronto the moment he arrived — and never wavered — but couldn’t deliver in the playoffs, for another L.A. product who delivered a championship but clearly only ever wanted to leave.Read more: Sportsnet
michaelgrange It was a stupendous run...and light at the end of the tunnel ...thanks to EVERYONE. Kawhi was part of the puzzle as well everyone else .. YOU TOOOO! MAZALTOV michaelgrange F kawhi. He was never gunna return and he screwed us making us think we had a chance. He could been straight up but he wasn't. They say kl reason raptors r champs but the only 1 person is Masai not kl who got us to win
michaelgrange No championships for a long time. You got very lucky with this one... michaelgrange AGREED!! he came he did his job and he left......no.......NO!!!! extra celabrations or statues or retired jerseys or anything...needed here. michaelgrange That article all I got was 'Move On' let's goo WeTheNorth
michaelgrange michaelgrange Wheres that thank you from Kawhi and his punk uncle Tom-dennis? michaelgrange Masai Kawhi michaelgrange You'll need to dismantle, and rebuild! michaelgrange Make sure he hears this. We heard him. Africa.....we are coming home michaelgrange My Lawd! The English say Ma Lord. We Jamaicans say My Lawd.
Raptors didn't lose in free agency, but Kawhi Leonard certainly won - Sportsnet.caOne thing is certain: Kawhi Leonard won free agency. Board Man may not have gotten completely paid in terms of salary, but he got what he wanted all along. And truthfully, it's tough to be angry at how it all played out. SNJeffBlair Can’t hold anything against Kawhi SNJeffBlair 🐍🐍🐍 kawhileonard SNJeffBlair zip it up Sportnet ..By the end of the day if Kawi did not play with the Raptors he would not won the championship of 2019.The team won and they allowed Kawhi to take the lead and fully assisted him to do so .We made 3 times to the finals with DeRozan .
michaelgrange Remember that the Raptors was not Kawhi but that he was part of the Raptors. We have great players who played a crucial role in our winning. Let's appreciate them for they deserve it. michaelgrange I completely agree. Kawhi moved on, so should we. He was never going to resign with us so let's not live in the what ifs but what we can do now.
michaelgrange michaelgrange You mean alright.
Fans in Canada and abroad mourn and reflect as Kawhi Leonard leaves the RaptorsThough his jersey may have said Toronto, Raptors fans across the country -- and beyond -- are in mourning after star player Kawhi Leonard opted to leave Canada's only NBA team. Please stop Canada!! This is getting pAthetic now!! You think he’s thinking about us How about focusing your attention on the fact that we are world champions!!🇨🇦🇨🇦🦖🏆
Assessing the Raptors' cap situation in a post-Kawhi world - Sportsnet.caKawhi's gone to L.A. and the Raptors have already begun the process of re-tooling. What is Toronto's cap situation as Masai Ujiri leads the team into a new era? loung_s breaks it down: loung_s Siakam needs a big raise. Hard to believe that he started playing basketball at 17 years old. 2019-20 will be a great season for him. Might even be an all-star.. We'll see. loung_s As long as they have Patrick McCaw they're good, guys never not won a title 😄 loung_s Raptors suck
Scott Stinson: Kawhi Leonard, mysterious as ever, left Toronto in the most confounding of waysLeonard, mysterious as ever, waited until it was almost too late to make his free agency work out the way he desired
Kawhi Leonard, L.A. Clippers scheduled for preseason game against Dallas Mavericks in VancouverLeonard led the Toronto Raptors to a championship in his only season in Canada before leaving for his hometown via free agency. Globe_Sports Load management day Globe_Sports Pinche traicionero
Kawhi Leonard: From ‘King of the North’ to banned at L.A. coffee shopsWhile Toronto threw just about everything at the superstar to get him to stay, a Los Angeles-based coffee chain has banned the NBA Finals MVP from stores. what a baby Im sure leonard doesn't give 2 shits