Mark December 11, 2019 on your calendars: That’s the day Kawhi Leonard will play in Toronto for the first time since leading the Raptors to their first-ever NBA title, then leaving them for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sources: Notable superstar return games on 2019-20 NBA schedule:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 2, 2019
Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard at Toronto: Dec. 11
Lakers‘ Anthony Davis at New Orleans: Nov. 27
Nets‘ Kyrie Irving at Boston: Nov. 27
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook at Oklahoma City: Jan. 9.
Leonard, who became the first Finals MVP to leave a title-winning team in the ensuing offseason, officially signed with the Clippers on July 10; simultaneously, the Clippers completed their trade with the Oklahoma City for Paul George, giving Leonard another top-tier two-way player to play with.
Leonard’s leaving was bittersweet for Raptors fans; after all, he brought us our first NBA title in his lone year here, which was an unmitigated joy... but it was still tough to see him go, to experience that sting of yet another player choosing to play elsewhere.
Unlike all those other players, though, Leonard accomplished everything we could ask for in his time here. And so I hope all Raptors fans will join me in applauding Leonard in his return, and give him nothing but cheers. Those other guys deserved all the boos they got, but Leonard? He deserves nothing but love.
Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in 60 regular season games for Toronto last year; he was named to the All-NBA second team and the NBA All-Defensive second team. In the playoffs, he boosted his numbers to 30.5 and 9.1, and created about a dozen never-to-be-forgotten memories, none bigger than this one (you’re damn right I’m showing it again):
The news of Leonard’s return date comes just minutes after we learned another key 2019-20 schedule date: That the Raptors will host the Boston Celtics on December 25, marking the first time the NBA has played a Christmas Day game outside of the United States.
The full 2019-20 schedule is expected to be released in the coming days.