San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard thanks San Antonio Spurs in first statement since blockbuster trade

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Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard thanked San Antonio and the Spurs in his first statement since being traded to the Toronto Raptors.

Leonard also thanked his former teammates, Gregg Popovich and Spurs fans in the letter, and said he'll "never forget what we have shared and accomplished together."

Here is the complete letter:

San Antonio,

I have been going back and forth the last few weeks trying to figure out the right things to say, and it comes down to two simple words: THANK YOU!

My family and I want to say THANK YOU to the entire Spurs organization and the people and fans of San Antonio.

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THANK YOU to every one of my teammates I've played with over my seven years in the NBA.

THANK YOU Pop I'll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance.

THANK YOU to the fans! There is not a more passionate or dedicated fan base than what I've witnessed in San Antonio.

Through all the ups and downs - I'm glad there were many more ups! - I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together.

While I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my career, I'll always remember the city and the people of San Antonio!

THANK YOU!

- Kawhi Leonard

The Indiana Pacers selected Leonard with the 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but the Spurs traded for him on the same night in a deal involving George Hill. The Los Angeles native improved each season he was with the Spurs, developing into a one-time NBA Finals MVP, a two-time All-Star, a two-time member of the All-NBA First Team and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

Despite his success with the franchise, Leonard requested a trade this offseason, paving the way for the Raptors to acquire him in return for DeMar DeRozan.

Leonard leaves the Spurs with career averages of 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.

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