Pascal Siakam reveals what Kawhi Leonard told Raptors group chat when he left for Clippers
Pascal Siakam still remembers his breakout season and how it came to a bittersweet ending in free agency. While the Toronto Raptors forward was still reveling in the joy of winning a championship, a text from Kawhi Leonard soon hit the team’s group chat, an ominous sign that the Finals MVP had made up his mind to go to the Los Angeles Clippers:
“[Leonard] texted the group chat saying, ‘Yeah, I’m going home. I appreciate you guys and what we did was special.’ That’s how I found out,” Siakam recalled, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “We all knew that he wanted to go home, for sure. But when we won the championship, we were like, ‘OK, there is a chance [he stays].’ I felt like there was a real chance after we won that maybe he would consider us more. But we all knew the way Kawhi is. Home was really important to him. I thought it could go either way. But I wasn’t surprised he went home.”
Leonard’s void would be the reason for opportunity, as Siakam can now take the next step and develop into the No. 1 scoring option, now with no star in the way of his growth. Siakam is excited about the challenge:
“But it was excitement being a competitor and someone who strives for greatness,” said Siakam of the news. “There are more opportunities. The door is open. The window is open. That’s exciting. I’m definitely up for the challenge just like everyone else on the team is up for the challenge.”
Most are not expecting the Raptors to repeat as champions, but that is the challenge that Siakam is willing to take on, despite missing an All-NBA-caliber player in Leonard. No longer haunted by the outcome of his decision, Siakam is free to take the reins and ensure he’s the one driving the Raptors to that quest.