Kawhi Leonard is set to return to San Antonio. Only this time he is going to be in the role of a villain. Despite what everybody might think, the former 2014 MVP is not going to be welcomed with roses and ovations.
It will be totally the opposite.
“Yeah, it’s going to be fun,” Leonard said after the game with the Jazzers, regarding his return to Texas.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 2, 2019
Well, this is something we can hardly believe.
After all the drama which surrounded his departure from AT&T Center, the fans in San Antonio will for sure have a lot of things to say to their former forward.
Leonard didn’t want to play to much last season, because of his quad injury for which he claimed that it didn’t heal properly at the time. The Spurs’ medical staff reportedly told that Leonard’s injury is gone, and that he could play, but the players wanted a second opinion from the doctors he chose.
According to their results, he was still injured, therefore ineligible for further games. During his treatment, Leonard wasn’t even in San Antonio, and as the time went by he distanced from the team, and the players.
The background of all this was allegedly his status in the franchise, as he wanted to renegotiate a new deal under better circumstances. Several sources told at the time that his manager, who is his close relative was the mastermind of the whole drama.
It seems that the Spurs didn’t want to accept the blackmail, and after Leonard expressed his wish to be traded, Gregg Popovich and the rest of the board quickly reacted.
The Claw ended up in Toronto. Now, he said before the season, that he doesn’t intend to stay here after his deal is through, and that is at the end of the season, which means that Leonard might even had a plan during his time in Texas to force a trade to some other destination. According to many experts, the target was the LA Lakers, who were looking for a franchise leader back then.
For the Spurs fans who are one of the most passionate in the whole league, this looked like a betrayal, and for the majority of them, Kawhi Leonard became a symbol of treason.
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) January 2, 2019
Even though, one of the best two-way players in the last decade is looking forward to facing this challenge. Furthermore, he will have an extra motive to play in front of a hostile crowd. He told the media that all the hype around the game would make it even more interesting.
“Everybody’s anticipating the game. Things like that only get me better for the long run, so it’s going to be a good game.”
Yet another guy is coming back “home”. Danny Green. Now, we are sure that he isn’t going to be welcomed in the same way as Leonard, as the didn’t have any problems with staying in Texas until the end of his career.
“It was the organization that groomed me,” he said. “It’s kind of where I grew up in this league, became professional and learned how to be one” Green said about his time in San Antonio.
Now, one thing is sure; this game is not going to make anybody indifferent. A lot of emotions are going to come out on the surface, a lot of bad memories and untold stories might unveil on the floor.
The Spurs host Toronto on Thursday, at 8 PM EST.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.