Kawhi Leonard leaving the Toronto Raptors in 2019 was always expected — but there was a small glimmer of hope that he would stay as well.

The Raptors traded for Leonard in 2018 in what was essentially seen as a rental with the former Spurs man entering free agency at the end of the season.

This was a risk Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was well aware of but the reward greatly outweighed the risk — the chance of a first-ever NBA championship for the franchise.

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As we all know now, the rest is history as Leonard along with the likes of Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and company all helped the Raptors defeat the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Finals in six games.

Leonard cemented himself in Canadian folklore forever in the process and while there would be no complaints if he left, many in Toronto were still hopeful the season that had gone by could convince him to stay, including Siakam.

Ultimately, that wasn't the case as Leonard departed for the Los Angeles Clippers. So how did Siakam initially react when he found out?

“I think it's like mixed. At the end of the day, for me, if there's one person that I can see do that, it's Kawhi,” Siakam said on Draymond Green's podcast. “You know the way he conducts his business, the way he is, all the things he does is always is in a particular way. For me, I'm thinking I don't think he can leave but at the same time, it's Kawhi. He's gonna do what he wants and much power to him because that's who he is as a person.

“Obviously, you're hurt because we look at our team like, ‘Yo, we can really do this.' I'm evolving, Fred is evolving, everyone is growing to their own, and we think we can really build something special. And Kawhi leaves so it was sad, like it hurt. But at the same time, I can only see Kawhi do that. … I'm not totally surprised by it.”

Leonard's departure ultimately paved the way for Siakam to reach another level in the 2019-20 campaign and become Toronto's bonafide number one option.