Coach Gregg Popovich wished Kawhi Leonard 'all the best' today after trading Kawhi and Danny Green to Toronto in exchange for Al-Star Demar Derozan and center Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Kawhi conducted himself wonderfully while he was here, Popovich said. "He helped us win a fifth championship, he was a hard worker all the time, but now it's time to move on."Popovich said he doesn't want to 'go back in time' and discuss the controversy surrounding Leonard's departure.
"He (Leonard) is going to be great," Pop said. "Danny Green will be missed, he has been here a long while, he was a big part of what we do on and off the court, he was a great community guy, and we are going to miss him very much."
Pop said he 'couldn't be happier' that Derosan is coming to the Spurs."He has been great for the community there, a team player, somebody who I have watched play for a while."He said he is 'anxious to get them involved in the program,' adding the future of the Spurs is 'exciting.'
"Trades and cuts are always the worst," he said. "I talked with Kawhi on the phone, I talked with Danny on the phone, that is always difficult. These are personal relationships."
Popovich said he 'hasn't really dealt' with Derozan, but he doesn't have a 'personal relationship at this point.'
"Without exception, I have a pile of emails on my desk already, from people who understand what kind of guy he is and what kind of player he is."
The ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, DeRozan is one of 10 players in the league to average 20-or-more points in each of the last five seasons and has been named to three straight NBA All-Star teams.
A gold medalist on the 2016 USA Olympic Team, he has earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors nine times and has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month three times (April 2015, January 2016 and January 2018).
He says his relationship with Leonard is far from over.
"I'll be coaching him next week, with USA basketball, and I look forward to it."