“I have no regrets,” Leonard responded to a question about his experience with the Spurs, “but I want to focus on this team and this journey that we have in front of us.”
Leonard was a two-time All-Star and an MVP candidate in San Antonio before suffering a quad injury that limited him to nine games last season. He was cleared by team doctors to return to action, but chose to remain sidelined on the advice of his personal physicians. The incident led to tension with the front office, clashes with teammates and derisive comments from coach Gregg Popovich.
Leonard informed the Spurs that he wouldn’t re-sign with the team once he opted out next summer, which led to his trade to Toronto. He told media members today that he’s doing fine physically.
“Right now I’m feeling great,” he said, “ready to play basketball.” (Twitter link)
There’s more from Toronto’s media day:
- Kyle Lowry lost his best friend and backcourt partner when DeMar DeRozan was shipped to San Antonio in the Leonard trade, but he insists it won’t affect his focus for the upcoming season, saying “our relationship is bigger than basketball … that’s still my boy.” (Twitter link from Blake Murphy of The Athletic). Lowry added that he understands the business side of basketball because he has been traded before and watched the Grizzlies draft Mike Conley as his eventual replacement.
- The Raptors have been mentioned as a possible candidate to trade for Jimmy Butler, but team president Masai Ujiri insists the team isn’t in trade talks with the Timberwolves. “I know there’s been rumors, but we haven’t had conversations,” he said. “This is our team.” (Twitter link)
- Jonas Valanciunas is looking forward to having Greg Monroe as a teammate after playing against him for several years. The Raptors added the free agent center in August to serve as an experienced backup in the middle. “Yes, we had some battles before,” Valanciunas said. “He’s a tough guy. He never backs down, and I never back down, and now we have a chance to play together. So it’s fun.” (Twitter link)