Kawhi Leonard continues to train extensively as he prepares for his first season with the Toronto Raptors, and the two-time Defensive Player of the Year the perfect partner for one of his recent workout sessions.
New Raptors assistant coach Phil Handy shared a photo on his Instagram page, which showed Leonard working out with Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
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Working on a few things, #details ... @kobebryant appreciate you #sharing your #greatness and time. #gainknowledge to #shareknowledge @raptors we are getting ready. @itsjerms_33 @boch2boch @success_mindset you cats stay in #beastmode #mambamentality #theghost #kobe #theworkisreal #gamechanger #hardworkisundefeated #beyourowngoat #94feetofgame #thegrindontstop ✌🏽
Leonard missed all but nine games last season because of a quad injury, but he's looking fresh and ready to go for the start of 2018-19. Working out with Bryant - a five-time NBA champion and former MVP - is the perfect way to get ready for a big season with his new team.
For what it's worth, Leonard has been heavily linked to joining either the Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers in free agency next year. So perhaps he's getting ready to follow the footsteps of Bryant (and now LeBron James), as the next great Laker, hoping to lead this golden franchise back to glory.
Since retirement, Bryant has spent extensive time working with other basketball players to help them refine their games as they turn pro. Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife told TMZ Sports that Kobe offered to train their 15-year-old son, Shaqir, though the long distance hasn't made that possible yet.
Bryant also trained Boston Celtics youngster Jayson Tatum, who was instrumental in helping the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Final, falling just one game shy of qualifying for the NBA Finals. Now, the Laker legend is helping Leonard get himself back into the game. Kudos to Kobe for doing his part in helping these players out.
Leonard requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs after a falling out with the organization. The Raptors acquired him and Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a first-round pick in 2019. The 27-year-old Leonard has the chance to test free agency next year, but Toronto will surely do all they can to try and sign him long term.