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Toronto Raptors

What are the Toronto Raptors saying about Kawhi Leonard's return?

December 11.

It's THE date that many fans had circled on their calendars and it's finally here as Kawhi Leonard returns to Toronto for the first time since leaving the Raptors to sign with the LA Clippers in free agency on Wednesday.

Prior to his return, Leonard told reporters that his main focus was getting a win, though he would also be looking forward to finally getting the championship ring he helped the team win this past June.

MORE: Kawhi speaks on his return | A closer look at the Raptors championship rings

Following their narrow win over the Chicago Bulls Monday, the Raptors could finally shift their focus to their next opponent and the return of a familiar face.

While there is an actual game to be played, Kawhi is the topic that's sure to dominate the headlines and airwaves. His former teammates - and coach - admitted as much as they spoke to reporters about what they expected following Monday's win.

Here's more on what Kyle Lowry, Nick Nurse and Marc Gasol had to say about Kawhi's return…

Kyle Lowry

On what he expects from the night

"It will be awesome. It'll be great, man. It won't be emotional, it'll be great, man. A guy like him coming back to a place that he called home for a year and helped us do some fantastic things and I think it's gonna be an unbelievable night for the first five minutes and then after that, it's a basketball game.

On how Kawhi's return will differ from others in the past

"It's gonna be great. I think the fans appreciate him, I think the organization appreciates him, I think what he did as a basketball player in winning a championship, it was great and I think it's going to be a good moment for him and I think he's gonna be really really happy to get his ring and then he goes back into pro mode, pretty much."

On how his relationship with Kawhi grew last season

"[My relationship with him] grew a lot, it grew well. We still speak to this day and that's still gonna be my guy. I think that group - when you when a championship together - myself and Kawhi, we still talk and we still communicate. We still have conversations, we text and we joke and it'll be good to see him Wednesday night."

On Kawhi receiving his championship ring

"I think once he sees [the ring] in person and puts it on it's gonna be a little bit of a good moment, he's gonna be like 'wow' and then, he's gonna go back and be ready to go hoop."

Nick Nurse

On what he thinks Wednesday will be like

"First of all, I think it's gonna be a really nice occasion, to give him his ring. I would imagine that our fans are gonna give him an amazing ovation. If they give him 1/15th of what they gave us on opening night, it's still gonna be something cause it was really amazing the night we got ours. And then I hope we go out and play really hard and go compete in the game and I would imagine the place is gonna be buzzing a little bit to see this return.

"I think it's a big thing most of the time, but I think for some reason it seems a little bigger in Toronto all the time. Our fans really pay attention to ex-players coming back and there's lots of emotion and reaction to it all the time - good and bad.

"A lot goes into it. That's one thing I've noticed since coming to Toronto, it's a thing, so I would imagine there's gonna be some buzz in the building."

Marc Gasol

On if it will be an emotional night for the Raptors

"I mean, obviously, we're going to try to beat them, just like we did in LA so it's not gonna be emotional because we already got our rings. Hopefully, it's very emotional for him but for us, it's going to be pretty business-oriented."

-

The Toronto Raptors host the LA Clippers on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:00 p.m. on TSN 1/4/5.

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