Obviously, the Raptors were deeply disappointed by Kawhi Leonard’s decision to sign a four-year deal with the Clippers, but has that disappointment morphed into resentment? Nope – not even close. First it was the fans, now it's the basketball star's former teammate. Norm Powell, Kawhi Leonard's former Raptors teammate, recently spoke up about him leaving Toronto.
In true Canadian fashion, Kawhi leaving the Raptors has actually been real cordial, with fans extending their thanks and gratitude to him via Twitter for leading the franchise to their first ever NBA Finals.
But the real question isn’t about what the fans think though, its what Leonard’s former teammates think about his decision. So, far things have been pretty quiet on that front, with Raptor stars like Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol holding their tongues about the trade.
However, at least one of Kawhi’s former teammates has now come forward to speak for the team and give his two cents about the player’s departure.
Raptors shooting guard Norm Powell got to work alongside Leonard as he led Toronto in their bout against the Golden State Warriors. On Monday evening, he sat down with ESPN to talk about Kawhi’s decision to leave, while at a Las Vegas Summer League contest between the Raptors and San Antonio Spurs.
“We’re just happy for him,” Powell told ESPN. “He gave everything he had in that first season with us, and we brought home the championship. So, we’re just wishing him the best in his choice and his new opportunity with the Clippers.”
Powell isn’t the only member of the Raptors organization to express their gratitude for Kawhi. Both head coach Nick Nurse and team president Masai Ujiri also thanked the baller for his contribution to the franchise.
"I think, first of all, he's a great person. He was unbelievably fun to coach, just locked in and loaded and ready to go. People would ask me, 'What was it like coaching him?' And I always said the best thing was I got to stand there on the courtside and watch this guy go to work,” Nurse said about the player according to CBC.