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SportsRaptors’ Nurse on Kawhi: ‘You can’t blame a guy for wanting to go home’

10:31  07 july  2019
10:31  07 july  2019 Source:   sportsnet.ca

Raptors coach Nick Nurse: 'Can't blame' Kawhi Leonard for leaving

Raptors coach Nick Nurse: 'Can't blame' Kawhi Leonard for leaving "I'm not totally surprised," Nurse said. "He delivered big time We certainly are going to relish this championship for a long time."

Go to permalink. Kawhi Leonard played in San Antonio last night for the first time since being traded from the Spurs to the Raptors , and he was booed heartily every time he touched the ball. However you feel about an angry home crowd going nuts on a returning former star, it’s damn near impossible

Not that you can blame them, of course. By donning the Raptors ’ Red, Kawhi Leonard instantly makes this a team with Championship-level Los Angeles — either the Clippers or Lakers — has long been considered the most likely destination for the L.A.-born baller, should he decide to go on the

Raptors’ Nurse on Kawhi: ‘You can’t blame a guy for wanting to go home’© Provided by Rogers Media Inc Nurse2

News of Kawhi Leonard’s departure from the Toronto Raptors is still fresh for most Canadian basketball fans, and the same is true for head coach Nick Nurse.

“Obviously he’s one of the greatest players in the world and talent in this league is hard to come by at that level,” Nurse said in an interview on ESPN during the Raptors’ Summer League game against the Golden State Warriors. “We’ll put our heads down and get to work and attack the season like we would. We’re going to get up every day with the goal of trying to win the championship, get up every day and go to work and expect to win.”

Raptors Coach Nick Nurse Jams On Stage With Band Arkells In Toronto

Raptors Coach Nick Nurse Jams On Stage With Band Arkells In Toronto Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse took his off-court skills on stage Saturday night. Nurse, who led the Raptors to their first NBA championship in franchise history earlier this month, joined Hamilton rock band Arkells at their Toronto show to perform a song with them on guitar. READ MORE: Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse says meeting with Trudeau in the works Fans posted photos and video on social media Saturday night of the rookie NBA head coach, clad in his signature black NN baseball cap, strumming along to a cover of Stevie Wonder’s hit “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” at Budweiser Stage.

He wants to be a good player, I mean a great player. He comes early, he stays late, and he's coachable. He's just like a sponge. When you consider he's only had [two years] of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he's going to be something else."

Sometimes, there are no winners. In the blockbuster trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected first-round pick, we all sort of lose. Leonard, who hits free agency next summer, reportedly has no interest in playing in Toronto.

Leonard will reportedly be joining the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, only weeks after leading the Raptors to the first NBA championship in franchise history.

Nurse said he found out the news moments before the reports came out late Friday night and added that he texted with Leonard a bit on Saturday.

“You can’t blame a guy for wanting to go home,” Nurse said during a separate media scrum Saturday night. “He was unbelievably fun to coach… now we got to go kick his ass.”

Nurse’s comments came in the first interviews by a member of the Raptors after the Leonard news came out. Earlier on Saturday, team president Masai Ujiri a statement thanking Leonard and Danny Green (who joined the Lakers Saturday) for their service.

“We are very thankful for the year that Kawhi and Danny played with us here in Toronto, and I know the city and the entire country of Canada are grateful for everything they did to help us to win our first NBA championship,” the statement said. “On behalf of the Raptors, I say a very heartfelt thank you to Kawhi and to Danny, and we send them and their families nothing but good wishes.

“As an organization, the Raptors will focus on the future and continue our pursuit of a second championship.”

Petition asking Kawhi Leonard to stay reaches 20 per cent of its goal in one day.
It’s only been a day since a petition asking Kawhi Leonard to stay with the Raptors was launched and it had already reached 20 per cent of its goal. As of Sunday, the petition has amassed more than 20,000 signatures out of its goal of 100,000. The campaign was announced on Saturday by Mayor John Tory alongside Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia and Paramount Fine Foods CEO Mohamad Fakih. Danny Green, who joined the team last July from the San Antonio Spurs alongside Leonard, is also entering free agency this month. Green said at an event on Saturday that he believes there’s a “higher percentage” that Leonard would continue with the Raptors.

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