The Toronto Raptors took a major gamble when they shipped DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. But the risk paid off when Toronto won the first championship
in franchise history, knocking off the Golden State Warriors in six games.
Despite initial question marks about his interest in joining the team, Leonard told reporters after the series-clinching victory that he quickly messaged Kyle Lowry following the trade, saying he's in Toronto to win a title.
"We all know where my destinations were," Leonard said, according to The Athletic's Richard Deitsch. "But obviously like I said, when I was there on my opening-day meeting that I was focused on the now, and I wanted to make history here and that's all I did. ... The guys here have been making runs in the playoffs before I came, so I know they were a talented team. And I just came in with the right mindset, let's go out and win ball games.
"I texted Kyle probably a day later - or the day I got traded and told him 'let's go out and do something special.' I know your best friend left, I know you're mad, but let's make this thing work out.' And we are here today."
Lowry was notably upset when team president Masai Ujiri dealt DeRozan, his best friend. But he's said multiple times since the trade that it's all business, and he was focused on hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time.
Leonard, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, immediately gave Toronto championship aspirations when he came aboard the perennial playoff contender.