Kawhi Leonard Steps out in Raptors Jersey, Ready for the Season

Kawhi Leonard with the San Antonio Spurs. Photo by Austin Mcafee/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

Kawhi Leonard stepped out in Raptors’ jersey for the first time on Monday, cracking jokes as he asserted his readiness for the new season.

“I’m a fun guy, Leonard said with a rare smile in his face. “Obviously, I love the game of basketball.”

Leonard was traded to Toronto in the offseason for Demar DeRozan after his relationship with the Spurs became unbearable. When healthy, the 27-year-old is one of the league’s best players. He was third in the 2016-17 MVP and the 2014-15 defensive player of the year.

Last season, Kawhi suffered a leg injury and stayed in the sidelines for 73 games. Things got worse between him and the Spurs toward the end of the season. He asked out and was traded off to Toronto.

At Monday’s media day, Leonard insisted he is healthy and ready to lead the Raptors for a victory in the Eastern Conference.

“I want to play here, Kawhi said. “As long as I have on a jersey, I want to play basketball. I came here with an open mind.”

Kawhi, who is in the final year of his contract, declined to talk about his future saying,

“If you look toward the future, you’re going to trip over the present.”

Raptors’ new coach Nick Nurse is hopeful Leonard will stay healthy this season and lead them to a conference win.