Gregg Popovich’s comments don’t matter to Kawhi Leonard.
The Spurs coach said this weekend Leonard — who was traded to the Raptors in July — “wasn’t a leader” while he was with the team. Leonard was asked about Popovich’s statement when he met with reporters after Toronto’s 125-115 win over the Heat on Sunday.
“It’s just funny to me. I don’t know if he’s talking about last year or not,” Leonard said (via TSN). “I guess when you stop playing they forget how you lead. … It doesn’t matter. I’m here with the Raptors and I’m focused on the season and not what’s going on on the other side.”
Leonard said he tries to “lead by example.”
“Coming into practice everyday just going hard and coming into these games mentally focused,” Leonard said. “You can’t see things once you’re playing on the floor — guys ask me questions about their matchup, or if I see something on the floor I’m telling guys ‘go here, go there.’
“Just motivating people, you know what I mean? I just try to lift people’s spirits on the floor. That’s about it.”
Leonard and Danny Green were sent to the Raptors in exchange for a package centered around DeMar DeRozan this offseason. Leonard has averaged 24.4 points and 8.4 rebounds in his first 14 games with Toronto.
The two-time All-Star appeared in just nine games for San Antonio in 2017-18 because of an injured right quad. Leonard reportedly had a tense relationship with the team throughout his rehab process and demanded a trade out of San Antonio.
The win over the Heat moved the Raptors to 17-4 this season. Leonard tallied 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the victory.