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Danny Green says former teammate Kawhi Leonard wanted 'his own route'

By
Jake Elman
Danny Green (back) and Kawhi Leonard were teammates in San Antonio and Toronto. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Danny Green (back) and Kawhi Leonard were teammates in San Antonio and Toronto. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

July 12 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green said he wasn't surprised that former San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard chose the rival Clippers in free agency instead of signing with the Lakers.

Green told reporters Thursday he felt Leonard, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, "wanted to go his own route" instead of teaming up with Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

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"I think it was between [the Clippers] and going back [to Toronto]," Green said on a conference call. "I think the year that he had and what those fans brought this season and everything, it was hard for him to turn it down and leave Toronto. But I knew he wanted to be closer to home."

Green and Leonard were traded together from San Antonio to Toronto last summer. The two emerged as key pieces on the Raptors' first-ever NBA Finals team.

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Leonard signed a three-year, $103 million max contract with the Clippers, who also traded for Oklahoma City forward Paul George. Both can become free agents after the 2020-21 season.

Green averaged 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 80 games with the Raptors last year. He said his decision to sign a two-year, $30 million deal with the Lakers "wasn't very hard."

"LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis are here," Green said. "Obviously when you're with a winning team and you've won, you want to run it back if it's possible. But that wasn't going to happen. And even if it did happen, I don't think they had room for me there [in Toronto].

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"So you go to the next-best team you think in the league is and that was here."

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