Someone Close To Kawhi Leonard Believes He’ll ‘Fall In Love With Toronto’

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Kawhi Leonard finally showed up in Toronto on Friday, which is good because the NBA team he now plays for has its home games in the largest city in Ontario. That he appeared at Raptors team headquarters and was wearing a Raptors shirt seems like small news, but not after a week in which it appeared he had no intention of warming to the idea that he now plays basketball in Toronto.

Leonard’s story the past season is one of the stranger ones in the NBA, as he had a falling out with a franchise that seemed committed to him but then had to find a landing place for him in the trade market. The problem, of course, is that the San Antonio Spurs didn’t have to trade him to a place he wanted to play, and apparently Toronto wasn’t initially one of those preferred destinations.

Leonard is only under contract for one more season, so it may not much matter how he feels about the Greater Toronto Area, but there’s some speculation that once he spends more time in the area he will embrace the city more. A column by Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Tribune asserted that much, citing an anonymous source he claims to be close to Leonard.

That source claims that Leonard will “fall in love” with Toronto once he plays there this fall.

Here’s what someone who knows Leonard as well as anybody told me privately: “He’s going to fall in love with Toronto – it’s going to happen. He’s not going to leave, I’m telling you.”

Leonard is a San Diego State alum, so Ziegler likely has some contacts within Leonard’s camp, but this obviously should be taken with a grain of salt, given that to this point no one has really been able to have their pulse on how Leonard feels about, well, anything. The column references that Leonard is a unique player, and it’s from the perspective that he may not end up in Los Angeles playing for the Lakers, something that’s long been rumored that he preferred.

And the reason even a single line like this is significant is that no one actually knows what Leonard is thinking about all this. In a strange way, his ability to be logged off and not have any social media presence at all means that we don’t know what he’s thinking, and thus tend to project feelings on what’s essentially a blank canvas. All we’ve gotten from Leonard is talk from people supposedly close to him, and that awkward smile on the Raptors Twitter account.

Until Leonard actually speaks to the media, or directly to fans in some way, we won’t know what he’s thinking. But Toronto is a city that players tend to speak passionately about, including the guy he was just traded for. Maybe he will have good things to say about Toronto after this season is through, but it’s tough to know much of anything about his future right now.