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History will say Kawhi Leonard was an amazing investment for the Raptors. He turned in a Finals MVP performance (28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks in six games vs. the Warriors) and delivered the franchise its first-ever NBA championship.
But in the beginning? No one knew exactly how the blockbuster trade between the Spurs and Raptors would play out for Toronto. Leonard was, after all, leaving San Antonio on bad terms. Many wondered how he'd mesh with Kyle Lowry, whose close friend, DeMar DeRozan, was among the players traded away last summer to acquire Leonard.
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Leonard was asked Thursday what exactly his mindset was after the trade to the Raptors. In answering the question, he also revealed he reached out to Lowry with a message.
"I texted Kyle probably a day later — or the day that I got traded — and told him I said let’s go out and do something special," Leonard said. "I know your best friend left, I know you’re mad, but let’s make this thing work out. And we are here today.”
From there, the Raptors turned in the second-best record (58-24) in the NBA during the regular season, then ousted the team with the best record i[......]