Raptors’ Leonard ‘ramping it up’ forward of coaching camp


Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri intends to make issues “snug” for prized low season addition Kawhi Leonard and he’s nonetheless thrilled to have acquired the previous San Antonio Spurs standout.

Ujiri had a easy message for Leonard once they met briefly earlier this summer time in Toronto.

“We needed to inform him we believed in him, that we did this (commerce) for a great purpose to suppose we’re getting a top-three participant within the NBA,” Ujiri stated this week on ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast.

Leonard, a former NBA Finals MVP and two-time defensive participant of the yr, was solely capable of go well with up for 9 video games in his closing season in Texas, however by all accounts has appeared excellent in summer time exercises.

Ujiri wouldn’t decide to Leonard being able to go full steam forward by the point coaching camp opens in simply over per week, however he sounded inspired.

“Every part you hear (about his exercises) is unbelievable. He’s very properly, no verdict has been made, however he’s ramping it up,” Ujiri informed Wojnarowski, including that Leonard’s standing will rely on each what he and the medical workers say.

Ujiri was requested the place the Leonard and Danny Inexperienced additions put the Raptors, by way of competition?

“We’re excited to see. We’re actually excited to see it come collectively there’s a brand new pleasure and generally we’d like that,” Ujiri stated.

Ujiri wasn’t taking a shot at both DeMar DeRozan, dealt for Leonard, or former head coach Dwane Casey, who was fired after being named NBA coach of the yr. He once more reiterated that the pair helped lead the Raptors to nice heights and that he gave them an opportunity to try this by maintaining them round when he took over and after that, whereas many incoming executives wouldn’t have completed the identical factor.

Ujiri once more mentioned his public apology to DeRozan after the deal, saying talks with the Spurs have been up and down, generally shut, generally seemingly distant and defined that you just can’t maintain gamers totally knowledgeable of each dialog and each peak and valley of discussions or else it might result in penalties.

“Some issues perhaps I may have completed totally different, however what occurs if the commerce doesn’t occur?”

Ujiri stated the Raptors shall be “real” with Leonard and can attempt to promote him on town, the range, the followers and the “distinctive) ambiance right here in makes an attempt to persuade him to remain long-term with the franchise.

Leonard turns into an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and has been related to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

Ujiri additionally praised new head coach Nick Nurse, saying he “stood out” from the standard competitors additionally vying for the job and added that understanding on the time of the hiring that Leonard could be heading to Toronto “wouldn’t have modified something” by way of selecting Nurse.

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