Nick Nurse "Can’t Blame" Kawhi Leonard For Spurning Raptors For LA Clippers


When asked to comment on Kawhi Leonard’s departure to LA, Raptors’ coach Nick Nurse couldn’t find it in himself to be resentful. A gag of media types caught up with him during Las Vegas Summer League play in the hopes of catching him afoul, but Nurse was wise to it – admitting to his disappointment, while ultimately empathizing with Kawhi’s decision.

“I think you can’t blame a guy for wanting to go home,” Nurse said Saturday evening.”That’s what he texted me today. ‘I’m going home.’ And I just said, ‘You’ve changed a lot of lives, man, by what you’ve accomplished in Toronto. Mine especially.’ And thanked him for what he did, and we’ll look to the future, and we’ll look to [win a title] again.”

Notice how Nurse uses aspirational language in describing his team’s title defense in 2020, despite conceding the loss of Kawhi Leonard, the out and out “difference maker” for a team stuck in liminal space.

Nurse also admitted one other thing Raptors can’t be faulted for losing sigh of in the past 24hrs: Kawhi’s departure after 2018-2019 was something they came to grips with right from the onset of his acquisition (last summer).

“I was just hanging out with a couple of the assistants,” Nurse continued. “Got the text message and then got the news report quickly afterward. I’m not totally surprised. I think we all knew that [Leonard’s departure] was a situation that could happen. He delivered big-time, played his heart out for us. We certainly are going to relish this championship for a long time. And we’re going to stop celebrating it pretty soon.”