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Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard introduced in Toronto for first time

Kawhi Leonard, Raptors

The Toronto Raptors’ fans didn’t get to see Kawhi Leonard play at home during the preseason, so rest assured they were going to give him a warm welcome Wednesday night when the superstar small forward made his regular-season home debut.

The Raptors faced off against the Cleveland Cavaliers to open the 2018-19 regular-season, and when he was introduced in the starting lineup, Leonard got a deafening reception from the crowd.

The Raptors acquired Kawhi Leonard over the summer from the San Antonio Spurs. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year can become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 if he declines his player option for the 2019-20 season. When the trade became official, multiple reports stated Leonard wasn’t happy with the move and that there was no chance he would re-sign in Toronto.

Since then, however, things have changed. The Raptors hired Leonard’s childhood friend, Jeremy Castleberry, as a player development coach. Leonard bought a house in Toronto instead of renting one. The All-Star had a positive first meeting with head coach Nick Nurse. Of course, the on-court results are going to be the determining factor in regards to if Leonard will stay in Toronto long-term. But so far, things have been going well.

It didn’t take long for Kawhi Leonard to score his first basket. He hit an easy layup off a pass from point guard Kyle Lowry.