Kawhi Leonard pens letter thanking Spurs, Gregg Popovich


In the time since then, Leonard made a trade request to the Spurs and had that request be granted in the form of a deal sending him to Toronto and DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio.

Leonard's first home game as a member of the Toronto Raptors will come on Friday, October 19, when they host the Boston Celtics in a nationally televised contest airing on ESPN.

More than two weeks after being traded to the Raptors, Leonard broke his silence and submitted a letter to the San Antonio Express-News thanking the Spurs organization.

Shortly after a meeting between Leonard and Popovich, the Spurs moved the two-time National Basketball Association defensive player of the year to the Raptors.

"The best part about San Antonio, they do right by you", the Spurs forward said, according to Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant.

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Leonard thanked Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and added: "I'll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance".

"Through all the ups and downs - I'm glad there were many more ups!"

He also thanked the fans (again). - I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together.

While last season was one to forget for Leonard, his time in San Antonio will be better defined by his 2013-14 campaign, when he helped the Spurs capture their fifth National Basketball Association title while being named MVP of the Finals. Multiple reports indicated that Popovich and Leonard met in June but were apparently unable to fix the relationship between the club and the two-time defensive player of the year.

The 2014 Finals MVP played only nine games last season, after being sidelined with a nagging right quad injury. "That trade right there shows you the difference between the San Antonio Spurs and other organizations".