There were quite a few things going for the Toronto Raptors in contract negotiations with Kawhi Leonard, but there was one aspect that was totally beyond their control: Geography.
Leonard, a Southern California native, ultimately chose to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers after also taking meetings with the Lakers and Raptors. Of course, Leonard was coming off one season with Toronto in which it won the championship, the first in Raptors franchise history.
While meeting with the media over the weekend, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse shared the message he received from Leonard after the star made his decision.
“It’s certainly disappointing. He was unbelievably fun to coach,” Nurse told reporters, via The Boston Globe. “You can’t blame a guy for wanting to go home. That’s what he texted me today, ‘I’m going home.’ He’s going home and that’s a hard draw (to compete with).”
The Raptors have a newer look now with Leonard no longer in the mix, but they still have the talent to be a contender in the Eastern Conference. The Clippers, meanwhile, have become what should be a wagon thanks to the additions of Leonard and Paul George.