Leonard, who had an unceremonious exit from the team in 2018, was recently asked about how his current comeback from injury differs from his prior experiences. After suffering a nagging quadriceps injury during the 2017 NBA Playoffs, the 31-year-old fell out with the Spurs due to the differences in approach for his rehab.
The five-time All-Star signed with the Clippers during the 2019 NBA offseason after winning the 2019 NBA Finals with the Raptors. But this time around, Leonard says his comeback has been “very different” in comparison to the similar situation he was in while with the Spurs. He shared that the positivity he feels heading into the 2022-2023 NBA season is simply due to the team having his back.
“Moving forward, they want what’s best for me. I’m seeing the same faces, so that’s like the differences pretty much,” he added.
After being selected 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2011 NBA Draft, the “Klaw” was traded to San Antonio and spent his first several seasons in the league with the Spurs. In 2014, Leonard won the NBA Finals MVP award after the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat for the NBA title and won back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2015 and 2016.
During the Spurs’ matchup with the Golden State Warriors during the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, Leonard was injured during a collision with Golden State Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia.
Leonard would only appear in nine games for the Spurs during the 2017-2018 season before ultimately demanding a trade, which was completed when he and teammate Danny Green were dealt to Toronto in exchange for All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Pöltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick