The Toronto Raptors won it all this past season behind the performance of 3x All-Star Kawhi Leonard. WIth him, and the deep roster they assembled, they were able to accomplish the impossible — winning the NBA Finals against the back-to-back Champs in Golden State.
Unfortunately, time for celebration was promptly replaced with a sense of uncertainty, as Leonard signed with the Clippers just a month after winning his Championship in Toronto.
Following reports of The Klaw’s “absurd” and “impossible” demands towards the Raptors, there were questions about whether or not he was ever serious about coming back at all. Some say no, but team GM Masai Ujiri is not quick to buy into those claims.
“There was plenty part of him that wanted to stay,” Ujiri said in an interview with CBC. “Winning, the city, medical, there are so many things I could tell…
“He won in the city, had one of the greatest shots in NBA history, the fans, an unbelievable parade. I know Kawhi, I know he really thought about all those things.”
“If he wants to go home, he’s gone home,” Ujiri said. “If there was a team in Lagos, Nigeria or Zaria, Nigeria, if there was an NBA team there I don’t know if I would stay in Toronto. There are some callings in life and some things that pull people one way or the other and I completely understand that.”
Basically, the esteemed front-office leader believes his team did nothing wrong in their treatment or recruiting efforts towards Kawhi. The calling to go home was simply too strong to overcome, no matter what they had done.
It’s hard to say whether or not that is fact, but rumors of Kawhi’s move to Los Angeles have been circulating for months. Even he himself has hinted he has wanted to play there.
Now the Raptors are left to pick up the pieces and wonder for themselves…