Well. It’s been a wild ride.
Kawhi Leonard delivered the Raptors their first-ever championship and is now, finally, a member of the LA Clippers.
It’s a heartbreaking day for the Raptors, who did everything they could and more to get Kawhi to remain in Toronto. However, with newly-acquired Paul George, the Clippers provide him the opportunity to play at home and win long-term. That’s incredibly difficult to pass up.
It’s sad, and I can say that I was beyond devastated initially. Still, the Raptors achieved the one things fans always dreamed and him leaving won’t take away the fact that Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and every other beloved current Raptor are NBA Champions. This wasn’t a one-man show as so many Raptors had incredible playoff moments that will be remembered forever. It was an incredible ride and no Raptors fan would give up this past year for anything.
Plus, during times like these, it’s hard to not be a little petty. The Lakers waited Kawhi out and had to panic-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Christ’s sake. With a max slot, they will get the scraps of FA and Danny Green to fill out their almost-superteam. A Raptor, and Kawhi will always be a Raptor, has finally pulled one over on LeBron.
Masai Ujiri famously told Raptors fans to “believe in yourself, believe in this city” and he delivered on his promise. Though Kawhi is no longer a Raptor, the future remains bright and with the greatest executive in the league at the helm in a city that has proven to be basketball-crazed, the Raptors are here to stay.