SAN ANTONIO - Toronto Raptors wing Kawhi Leonard acknowledged that "at times" he wishes things would have gone differently during his acrimonious split from the San Antonio Spurs, adding that his time with the franchise "meant a lot" for his development.
That's a pretty classy move by both guys and it shows just how much they respect each other.
Leonard left the Spurs on bad terms after appearing in just nine games in the 2017-18 season, and he's not expected to be received warmly by the fans in San Antonio. No, not at all. During the Raptors pregame player introductions, Spurs fans certainly didn't hold back as they rained down a healthy dose of roaring boos when Leonard's name was announced. After a wild post-season in which the Spurs savagely traded Leonard to Toronto after a dramatic season (remember he wanted to be in LA), and the Raptors gave up their loyal DeMar DeRozan, emotions were running high.
The problem is, DeRozan is now with San Antonio.
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The night belonged to DeRozan, though, as he became the first San Antonio player with a triple-double at home since Tim Duncan in 2003.
"I feel good except for losing the game".
The Spurs have put together multiple video tributes for both Leonard and Danny Green to celebrate their contributions to the organization, according to sources.
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The forward has scored 20 or more points in a career-long 14 straight games, including a personal-best 45-point performance on New Year's Day. This was the first time DeRozan recorded a triple-double in his career, making it a successful game against his former squad. "So I felt badly, in all honesty", said Popovich.
Toronto (28-11) has spent most of the season atop the Eastern Conference but is now second behind Milwaukee (26-10) based on winning percentage. "We always have in the past, so we'll see".
"It really wasn't [anything]", he said.
Leonard spent seven seasons with the Spurs and won Finals MVP in 2014 when he helped guide the team to its fifth championship. "It was just a fun game".
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