San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard seems happy in Toronto

By Rob Wolkenbrod
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 02: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs warms up before the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 02, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 02: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs warms up before the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 02, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /
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Kawhi Leonard flashed a rare smile days after the San Antonio Spurs traded him to the Toronto Raptors, and following a report of his unhappiness.

Throughout the Kawhi Leonard trade madness, the former San Antonio Spurs star’s desire was Los Angeles, Clippers or Lakers, and go to his hometown. Of course that did not happen, as the Spurs sent him and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.

Toronto is hardly Los Angeles and, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Leonard “has no desire to play in Toronto.” That also happened once the trade went down, before Raptors executive Masai Ujiri held a press conference to speak on the deal.

Kawhi Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, league source tells ESPN.

— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 18, 2018

Maybe everything is not as bad as expected? The Raptors Twitter account posted a rare photo of Leonard smiling at the team’s facility.

Welcome to the North pic.twitter.com/FWy6huVI9l

— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) July 20, 2018

Will this situation work out? Leonard has one year left on an extension he signed in 2015; there’s a player option for the 2019-20 season, but he can hit free agency and seek a multi-year deal entering his age-28 season.

On the other side, DeRozan was unhappy to leave Toronto after “miscommunication” between him and Ujiri in the days and weeks before everything transpired. He posted a heartfelt thank you to the city Saturday.

Situations have changed for two marquee names in the NBA, and it marked the end of a storyline that started in January, or September, when the Spurs first announced Leonard’s quadriceps injury. A communication breakdown followed, and everything else that followed in a frantic rumor mill.

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Now, the focus is on how DeRozan fits into San Antonio and if Leonard stays beyond the 2018-19 season with the Raptors. Both will open interesting storylines this fall, with how far they push their respective teams into the postseason and beyond.

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