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

Addressed to "San Antonio", Leonard thanked the Spurs' organization, coaching staff, teammates, and fans for their support during his seven years with the franchise.

"While I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my career", Leonard wrote.

Shortly after a meeting between Leonard and Popovich, the Spurs moved the two-time National Basketball Association defensive player of the year to the Raptors.

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He also thanked the city of San Antonio, his former teammates and the fans.

Leonard is known as a very private and quiet athlete, but on Thursday he did release his first statement and while it's full of "thank you's" towards his former club, there's no mention about his new team.

"Through all the ups and downs - I'm glad there were many more ups! That trade right there shows you the difference between the San Antonio Spurs and other organizations".

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year alongside Danny Green, was shipped to Toronto in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick. "I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together", he said. Leonard, an unrestricted free agent next summer, reportedly wasn't pleased with the move and many expect him to bolt for the Los Angeles Lakers, joining LeBron James. Multiple reports indicated that Popovich and Leonard met in June but were apparently unable to fix the relationship between the club and the two-time defensive player of the year. He only appeared in nine games last season before sitting out the entire campaign due to a quad injury.


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