Report: Kawhi Leonard told Raptors he didn’t think they were good enough to repeat
Kawhi Leonard became the first superstar to switch teams immediately after winning a championship.
So, there’s some schadenfreude coming from Toronto after the Clippers lost in the second round. The Raptors made it that far without Leonard.
Josh Lewenberg of TSN:
There were obviously other reasons why he chose the Clippers, including and especially his desire to go home, but one of the things Kawhi told the Raptors when he met with them in Toronto last summer, according to a source, was that he didn't think they were good enough to repeat— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) September 16, 2020
I don’t know exactly what Leonard said. I can see how someone in Toronto would want to embarrass him and hype up the Raptors.
The Raptors had an excellent season sans Leonard. They won 74% of their regular-season/seeding games, swept the Nets and pushed the Celtics to seven games. Toronto was capable of winning a championship.
With Leonard, the Raptors would’ve been a first-rate contender. Pascal Siakam made tremendous strides, but he was still in over his head as a go-to scorer. Leonard would have made a huge difference in that role, and his could’ve-been supporting cast showed its bona fides.
Leonard obviously left Toronto for multiple reasons. He wanted to be in L.A. He liked other aspects of the Clippers organization.
But to whatever degree he viewed the Raptors as a non-contender, he has egg on his face.
Though he’d never admit regret publicly, I wonder how he actually reflects on his decision last summer.