In a trade that sent shockwaves throughout the National Basketball Association, the Raptors acquired Leonard and three-point shooter Danny Green last month, while San Antonio received all-star DeMar DeRozan, backup centre Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.
In a letter submitted to the San Antonio Express-News, Leonard thanked the Spurs organization, his former teammates, coach Gregg Popovich and the team's fans.
"I'll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance", Leonard wrote about Popovich.
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Three weeks after being traded to the Toronto Raptors from the San Antonio Spurs in a deal that included DeMar DeRozan, Kawhi Leonard has finally borken his silence. Spurs doctors cleared him to return, but Leonard's own team did not, and as Leonard sat, his relationship with the Spurs grew colder. Leonard gives a shoutout to his teammates "over my seven years in the National Basketball Association".
Outside of that, this is a pretty boilerplate "thank you" letter from the reserved forward as he starts his new chapter in Toronto. 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.
"Through all the ups and downs - I'm glad there were many more ups!"
He also thanked the city of San Antonio, his former teammates and the fans. The 27-year old forward only appeared in nine games last season due to injury, but all signs point to him being fully recovered and ready to go when the 2018-19 season gets underway. - I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together.