Kawhi Leonard claims his upcoming free agency is far from his mind as he concentrates on the current season with his new team.
The star forward joined the Toronto Raptors as part of a trade that saw DeMar DeRozan join the San Antonio Spurs. But the Raptors knew the risks involved, with the player well into the last year of his contract.
Leonard will return to San Antonio to play the Spurs on Thursday, for the first time since his move in the summer, and there's no telling how he will be received by the home crowd. His switch to Toronto was completed under not-so-amicable circumstances and the reaction could be a harsh one when he steps on the floor to face his former team.
Kawhi Leonard with a new career-high: 45 PTS (16-22 FG) pic.twitter.com/jGdVP98amE— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 2, 2019
As for his future, it is believed that Leonard could return to the West and join the Los Angeles Clippers, yet there's also a strong feeling he could be convinced the Raptors are the right team for him.
The player, though, has revealed that he is focused on the campaign at hand and not free agency.
"I'm not thinking about that," he said via ESPN. "I'm focused on right now, what this is bringing for me and focused on the opportunity that I have here and what we can do this season. Later down the road, that's when I'll make my decision.
"We're playing well. It's a lot to make an adjustment to be here. It's different. It's a different culture, a different mindset than what me and Danny [Green] are coming from."
Meanwhile, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich insists he has moved on from the whole debacle.
"You move on in life," Pop said. "We're not going to redo what's happened in the past in any way, shape or form. It's of no consequence at this point, and it does no good to go backward and talk about this, that or the other...You're gonna say whatever you want. It's a waste of our time. "
GAME PREVIEW:— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) January 3, 2019
Kawhi Leonard & DeMar DeRozan go head-to-head TONIGHT as the @Raptors visit the @Spurs!
🏀: #WeTheNorth vs. #GoSpursGo
📺: Sportsnet One
🕢: 8 PM/ET
➡️ https://t.co/WJCgDrIqdA pic.twitter.com/itr7X2IKrP
What This Means
Along with Kevin Durant's, Kawhi's name will be the most mentioned after the season is done and dusted.
The summer could go by pretty tamely as the player could simply choose not to opt out - he has a player option for next season - but there's no one who thinks that such will be the case.