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Leonard leaves Raptors to return home

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I’m sure many Toronto Raptors fans were disappointed with the news that Kawhi Leonard would be leaving the NBA champions in favour of the Los Angeles Clippers.
We all were hoping he would stay in Canada and try to lead the Raps to a repeat.
But really, it should come as no surprise that he left. When Kawhi asked for a trade out of San Antonio last year, it was reported he wanted to go to Los Angeles, specifically the Lakers.
After all, he is from Los Angeles and who can blame him for wanting to go home. It is what John Tavares did when he left the New York Islanders for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The fact that Leonard is going to the Clippers is what surprises most NBA experts, who seemed convinced he would either stay in Toronto or go to the Lakers.
Leonard apparently wanted to play with small forward Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the Lakers already with Lebron James in the lineup and then acquiring superstar Anthony Davis, the Clippers were desperate to keep Leonard out of the Lakers’ gold and purple jersey.
So the Clippers swung a record-breaking deal, sending two players, as well as four unprotected first-round draft picks (two of them from Miami), one protected first-round draft pick and two pick swaps for George.
That is seven first-round picks starting in 2021 and ending in 2026.
Long considered a league doormat, the Clippers are now one of several teams which can be considered contenders next season.
As for Kawhi, his legacy with the Raptors should not be tarnished by his departure. He did something no other player has been able to do in the 23 years previous and that is lead the Raptors to an NBA championship.
But it wasn’t only with the championship where Leonard left his mark.
The run to the title galvanized the country. Jurassic Parks sprang up all across Canada and the Raptors became Canada’s team. People who didn’t follow basketball or the NBA jumped on the bandwagon and became excited about the Raptors and basketball.
As short as his tenure with the team was, Kawhi Leonard’s legacy with the Raptors will be felt for years, because he inspired an entire country.
All that is left to say is, thank you, Kawhi, for a memorable season that basketball fans in Canada will long remember.
•••
Canadian Wrestling’s Elite will be returning to Dauphin in November and they have announced the headliner.
Former WCW and WWE star Juventud Guerrera will headline CWE’s The Juice is on the Loose Tour, which kicks off, Nov. 6 in Portage and will hit Dauphin, Nov. 7.
Guerrera is a five-time WCW and WWE cruiserweight champion, who has been wrestling since 1992, and has had memorable feuds with the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr. and Chris Jericho.
Ticket information will be announced at a later date.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER