Count Isaiah Thomas as someone on Kawhi Leonard’s side, in the fallout of the saga with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Kawhi Leonard saga with the San Antonio Spurs ended nearly one month ago, when the would-be face of the franchise and Danny Green went to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick. Leonard asked for a trade in June after the season-long drama over his right quadriceps injury.
Leonard’s decision to want out drew support and criticism across the NBA and from fans, with scale arguably learning towards the latter. However, count Denver Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas as someone on the former MVP candidate’s side.
“Kawhi Leonard, what he did, was the right thing to do. He learned from my story. Everybody can hate or do whatever they say about Kawhi Leonard. But at the end of the day, he’s looking out for himself. Because these teams, all they’re going to do is look out for themselves. When a player does it, everybody is tripping out. It is what it is.”
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Thomas’ opinion might not be popular amongst Spurs fans, but Leonard sought a trade, received what he wanted and can move forward with another organization. Although, it’s not a Los Angeles team as previously desired.
As for Thomas, his actions have received attention over the past year, delaying hip surgery to play in the 2017 playoffs. This continued in stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Leonard will come off his own injury upon return in 2018-19, so there may be attention on how he performs after just nine appearances in the 2017-18 season; these took place from December to January, after which he did not play for the rest of the campaign and the postseason.
Leonard will also look out for himself in the 2019 free-agent market, when he can sign with the Clippers or Lakers, pending this desire sticks after one season in Toronto. How will he perform beforehand, though? Will money be a factor in the decision, since it can be five years in Toronto or four years elsewhere?