The finish to Kawhi Leonard’s tenure with the San Antonio Spurs was not nearly as joyous as the beginning of his career, but the superstar forward chose to remember those times in a thank you letter written to the Spurs and their fans.
Leonard, who was recently traded to the Toronto Raptors in a blockbuster deal for DeMar DeRozan, submitted the letter to the San Antonio Express-News. Leonard has been notoriously quiet throughout his young career, but he used this platform to show appreciation to the organization that cultivated a brilliant early career.
"I have been going back and forth the last few weeks trying to figure out the right things to say, and it comes down to two simple words: THANK YOU!" Leonard wrote.
Leonard is widely regarded as one of the league’s top two-way players. A perennial candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard has added a scoring touch to his arsenal. A champion and NBA Finals MVP with the Spurs, Leonard made sure to thank head coach Gregg Popovich.
"Through all the ups and downs -- I'm glad there were many more ups! -- I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together," Leonard wrote.
Leonard played in just nine games during the 2017-18 season due to a quadriceps injury. He missed the conclusion of the 2016-17 playoffs with an ankle injury sustained in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs’ handling of his injury led to much of the animosity that led to his desire to play for another team.
Both the Spurs and Raptors made out well in the deal, as the Spurs were able to receive an All-Star in DeRozan. Leonard is slated to be a free agent when the 2018-19 season ends.
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