Monday's matchup between the LA Clippers and Toronto Raptors marks the first time that Kawhi Leonard will face off against the team he won an NBA title with last season.
The 2019 Finals MVP signed with the Clippers this offseason and has gotten off to a strong start in his home state, averaging 29.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, leading LA to a 6-3 to start.
The Clippers do not have games on Saturday or Sunday, which means Leonard has plenty of time to rest ahead of the contest against the Raptors. LA practiced today, and with Toronto already in town to face off against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, there was a media presence ready to talk to Kawhi following the Clippers' practice.
Leonard spoke on his time in Toronto, the players on the team now, what's it's going to be like to face off against his former team and more.
"The guys, the journey, also the country, the city, it was amazing. There's just so much you could keep going on and talking about it," Leonard told TSN's Josh Lewenberg.
He had nothing but great things to say about Toronto, and said that his former San Antonio Spurs teammate and former Raptors' point guard Cory Joseph made him feel good about the trade right away.
"I never went in with a negative mindset. Playing with Cory Joseph in San Antonio, him being from that area in Toronto, I knew what the city brought... So I always felt positive with the trade. The front office I knew was great already with Masai (Ujiri) being in there."
Kawhi also mentioned that he still feels love from Canadians and that often times, Canadians will come up to him and tell him they appreciate how much he did for the Raptors and for the country.
As for his former teammates from the championship run, he said he keeps in touch with a few of them. He's also excited to see some of the guys succeeding in bigger roles this season, "OG (Anunoby) is finally getting a chance to play every game, a lot of minutes, so his improvement is going to keep getting better, as well as Pascal (Siakam). Him being the No. 1 option there is great for him. He's going to learn and keep growing."
He spoke on what he feels Monday's game is going to be like, stating, "It's a former team that I won a championship with, but it's (like) any other game. It's going to be fun to see the guys again and congratulate them and be able to shake hands and compete."
And lastly, that he's glad with his decision to return to his home state of California and his home city of Los Angeles, "I'm able to see my family after the games. I'm in Southern California, beautiful weather, I'm at my house. So everything's been good."
You can watch Leonard's first contest against the Raptors on Monday at 10:30 p.m. ET, televised on SN1, SNE, SNO, SNW and SNP.