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Kawhi Leonard Makes First Public Statement About Spurs After Trade

kawhi leonard runs onto the court during a pregame introduction

After months of rumor and speculation, and the eventual trade to the Toronto Raptors, Kawhi Leonard remained silent.

That ended today.

This morning, Leonard reached out to the San Antonio Spurs franchise and fan base to thank them for his seven years with the team.

Kawhi Leonard published the letter via the San Antonio Express-News.

In it, he thanks the organization, fans, his teammates, and perhaps most notably, head coach Gregg Popovich.

Word that he had fallen out with Popovich due to the franchise's handling of his lingering quad injury led to the point where he forced a trade this off-season. From the letter:

My family and I want to say THANK YOU to the entire Spurs organization and the people and fans of San Antonio.

THANK YOU to every one of my teammates I’ve played with over my seven years in the NBA.

THANK YOU Pop I’ll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance.

THANK YOU to the fans! There is not a more passionate or dedicated fan base than what I’ve witnessed in San Antonio.

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 became a two-time All-Star, and an NBA Finals MVP in 2014, when the Spurs captured their fifth title since 1999. He was a first-team All-NBA player in 2016 and 2017, and is likely one of the five best players in the league when healthy.

[San Antonio Express-News]