Kawhi Leonard is an NBA champion again, and lamented that “people doubted” him and insinuated that he “faking the injury” that ultimately led him to leave San Antonio and join the Raptors.
Leonard, 27, ignored the noise and led Toronto to its first ever title and took home his second NBA Finals MVP.
Kawhi says he is a “Raptor for right now” and wouldn’t give a hint about what he plans to do as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“I told him, day one, this is his team. He the man,” [Kyle] Lowry said. “And I’m gonna make sure he’s the man. And when he did special things, I told him he was the man.”
Said Leonard: “That’s just the type of guy he is, you know? He wants to win. Very competitive player. Like I said before, Kyle’s been a big help with me in my transition, just knowing things throughout the city and obviously basketball.”
Leonard called winning another NBA title “surreal” while referencing behind-the-scenes drama that could have derailed the Raptors’ season. “Our season was so up and down — behind the scenes,” Leonard said. “And you know, that’s how you know this is a great group of teammates. Nothing got out. You guys didn’t know what was going on.”
Leonard and Lowry said they will now stay “in the moment” to celebrate the title, but the next question will be Leonard’s pending free agency, should he decline to exercise a $21.3 million player option for next season.
“I’m not thinking about it right now,” Leonard said. “No, I’m a Raptor for right now. And you know, we’ll see what happens.”