NBA champion Kawhi Leonard thanks Raptors, city of Toronto

Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who led the Raptors to their first-ever NBA title in June, opened Wednesday’s introductory news conference with the Los Angeles Clippers by thanking his former team, the city of Toronto and fans across Canada.

Leonard, who was named Finals MVP, was arguably the most coveted prize in this year’s free-agent class, and met with several teams including the Raptors, Lakers and Clippers in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Speculation rose to a fever pitch that Leonard would re-sign with the Raptors after he flew to Toronto to speak with the team and president Masai Ujiri.

WATCH | Kawhi Leonard thanks Toronto for ‘amazing season and best parade ever’:

Kawhi Leonard has nice words for his former team and the city of Toronto during his introductory press conference with the L.A. Clippers. 2:09

But in the end, Leonard chose to return home and sign with the Clippers. He helped orchestrate the blockbuster trade that saw the Clippers obtain Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Canadian guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari and five first-round draft picks.

Leonard reportedly signed a three-year, $ 103-million US deal with the Clippers with a player option for the 2020-21 season.

Former Raptors’ star forward Kawhi Leonard and fellow Clippers newcomer Paul George show off their new jerseys at Wednesday’s introductory news conference in Los Angeles. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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