There was probably plenty of angst, and likely some tears, in the Raptors’ headquarters following the stunning news that both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are leaving the team.
The NBA Finals MVP Leonard is bound for the Clippers, Green is headed for the Lakers, and the Raptors will be trying to fill two key holes on their roster for next season.
But Raptors president Masai Ujiri issued a gracious statement Saturday thanking the two players for their contributions.
“We are very thankful for the year Kawhi and Danny played with us here in Toronto, and I know the city and the entire country of Canada are grateful for everything they did to help us win our first NBA Championship,” the statement read. “On behalf of the Raptors, I say a very heartfelt thank you to Kawhi and to Danny, and we send them and their families nothing but good wishes. As an organization, the Raptors will focus on the future and continue our pursuit of a second championship.”
Leonard shook up the league with his decision to sign with the Clippers in free agency just a few weeks after leading the Raptors to its first NBA title in franchise history.
Green’s announcement came just moments in a video he released on social media.
“I had a fun time in the city of Toronto, love the organization,” he said, in part. “Thank you guys. Thank you to my teammates. Thank you to the fans. Always have a great place in my heart. Never forget obviously the historic run we had.”
Many Raptors fans are upset that Leonard, and to a lesser degree, Green, are leaving, but they did bring the Raptors their first title.
It will be interesting to see the greeting Leonard receives in his first game back in Toronto.