Kawhi Leonard’s final season with the San Antonio Spurs was filled with drama and frustration that led to a blockbuster trade that sent “The Klaw” to the Toronto Raptors. Leonard started to become the center of controversy when he refused to play in the NBA Playoffs 2018 despite being medically cleared by the Spurs’ staff. Leonard said that he’s still in pain, but some of his teammates and coaches didn’t believe him at all.
In a recent interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Kawhi Leonard’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, made some revelations regarding his nephew’s departure from the Spurs last summer. Robertson told Haynes that they decided to demand a trade after their relationship with the Spurs turned sour and could no longer recover.
“I think it just became a lack of trust,” Robertson said.
“They didn’t believe Kawhi couldn’t play and that caused a lack of trust in us and then us not believing in them. Any time a player says he’s not capable of playing, you should believe him. Why would Kawhi just stop playing all of a sudden? He’s a competitor. Sometimes you get these team doctors telling you what you can and cannot do, and Kawhi was just in too much pain to get out there. This was a serious issue.”
Uncle Dennis Speaks: Uncle of Raptors star Kawhi Leonard to Yahoo Sports on why they requested trade from Spurs, initial reluctance to go to Toronto, being vindicated, affection for city and free-agency process. https://t.co/gJrsSW4HRF
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 26, 2019
When he demanded a trade from the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard said that he preferred to be traded to one of his hometown teams in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Lakers tried to make an intriguing offer for Leonard, but the Spurs didn’t seem to be interested in sending the All-Star small forward to the Purple and Gold. Instead, the Spurs traded Leonard to the Raptors in exchange for a trade package centered on DeMar DeRozan.
The Raptors earned criticisms for trading their most loyal player, DeMar DeRozan, for a possible one-year rental. Since the blockbuster trade, rumors and speculations have been circulating that Leonard will be leaving the Raptors as an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 NBA season. In his interview with Haynes, Dennis Robertson also addressed the rumors regarding Leonard’s impending free agency.
Unlike when he first arrived, Dennis Robertson revealed that Kawhi Leonard is now starting to love and “has spoken highly of” the city of Toronto. However, Robertson still can’t give an answer whether Leonard will stay long-term in Toronto or take his talent somewhere else next July. Before thinking about the 2019 NBA free agency, Leonard wants to keep his focus on the NBA Finals 2019 where the Raptors are set to face the reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.