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Kawhi Leonard Said He Would Not Be Playing Right Now If It Weren't For Load Management

(via NJ.com)

(via NJ.com)

Toronto has not been shy in their efforts to sway Kawhi Leonard into reaching a long-term deal with the team. The city is offering him free housing, the team is prepared to give him the keys to the franchise, and they have built a solid roster in place in hopes of building a winning environment for years to come. The Raptors have certainly pulled out all the stops in their pitch to Kawhi.

Though, perhaps, one of the more effective tactics was their respect and care of Kawh's body. Throughout the season, Toronto kept an open ear and was willing to sit Leonard for certain stretches in what they deemed "load management." Kawhi says, in obvious appreciation, that this helped keep him fresh and available for the playoffs.

"I wouldn't be playing right now if it weren't for load management."

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In San Antonio, it was the training staff that essentially started the beginning of the end for their relationship with Kawhi. They tried to push him on the floor when he believed he was not ready. The team skepticism regarding his injury and rehab created a culture of distrust, one that essentially ended in the dramatic ending we witness in the summer of 2018.

The Raptors clearly did not want to make the same mistake. They were careful to give Kawhi the rest he needed and listened to their star about when he was ready to return or sit.

They might find that gesture going a long way when they find it is time for Kahwi to choose where he ends up for the next several seasons.