Kawhi Leonard has spoken, sort of, for the first time since joining the Toronto Raptors.
In a statement that, surprisingly, spanned more than six syllables, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year thanked the San Antonio Spurs and their fans for the seven mostly wonderful years they spent together:
Kawhi Leonard releases first statements since trade to Toronto, saying goodbye to San Antonio and the Spurs: pic.twitter.com/XxSUEwbrQ6
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 9, 2018
As a housekeeping note, this reads like a comedy skit if you try to do so in Leonard’s monotone, indifferent voice.
Kawhi’s goodbye song comes just a couple of days after Tony Parker penned a farewell piece to the Spurs and their fans on The Players’ Tribune. His parting ode was, of course, much longer than Leonard’s. Still, it’s nice that Leonard, long the champion of staying out of the spotlight, did something to acknowledge San Antonio’s fans and the good times he shared with the Spurs. After all, despite everything that transpired over the past year, this partnership was for the most part mutually fruitful.
None of which helps pinpoint where it all went wrong between Leonard and the Spurs. Plenty of well-reported versions are out there, but few really zoom in on the biggest issue—the true point of no return. Was it last summer? Was it when Leonard wouldn’t give the Spurs a concrete timeline for his return? Was it Tony Parker’s own comments? The reported team meeting? Was Leonard harboring some resentment when the Spurs made him wait to sign a max deal in 2015?
At some point, perhaps soon, we’ll have a more comprehensive look at what went down over the past year. Information has a way of trickling out after the situation resolves itself and the drama fully subsides. For now, we’re still left asking, on some level, the same question: Why is this statement being written at all? Why aren’t Leonard and the Spurs still together?