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Raptors’ Fred VanVleet expected Kawhi Leonard to stay, but says he respects his decision

Kawhi Leonard, Fred VanVleet, Raptors

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet admits he thought Kawhi Leonard would stay after their successful championship run last season.

Leonard chose to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason, joining Paul George to form another superstar duo in Tinseltown. VanVleet, however, said that the Raptors did everything they can to make Leonard feel that he is wanted in Toronto

The 25-year-old guard added that he has nothing against Leonard because he respects the decision of his former teammate.

“We had a great year. I think he had a lot of fun. We rolled out the red carpet for him and his family. There’s nothing that we didn’t do,” VanVleet said, per OverDrive.

“But he made the best decision for him so you respect that, shake his hand and move on.”

Leonard and the Clippers are now the favorites to win the title next season. The Raptors, on the other hand, will have to defend their title without Leonard and Danny Green, who moved to the Los Angeles Lakers following the departure of Kawhi.

VanVleet is expected to a play a bigger role for the Raptors next season, along with significant holdovers like Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. Toronto also signed free agents Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in free agency.