Kawhi Leonard has received a lot of attention and criticism over the past for the way which he handled his injury during his time with the San Antonio Spurs.
Despite clearance from Spurs doctors to play, Kawhi refused to do so, seeking a second opinion from his own doctors and continued his rehabilitation process from right quadriceps tendinopathy.
As a result, his relationship with San Antonio brokedown, and he eventually handed in a trade request. The Spurs traded him out of the Western Conference to the Toronto Raptors.
A fresh start will provide new opportunities and hopefully a brighter future for Kawhi, but in the eyes of Isaiah Thomas, he's already learned a lot from his past.
Learning from Thomas' mistakes
Speaking on Thursday during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio, Thomas said that Leonard learned from his own injury story during his time with the Boston Celtics and decided to not rush back from injury in order to maximize his chances of receiving a big contract in the future.
He said, via The Score: "Kawhi Leonard, what he did is the right thing to do. He learned from my story.
"Everybody can hate or do whatever they say about Kawhi Leonard, but at the end of the day, he’s looking after himself.
"These teams, all they’re going to do is look out for themselves. When a player does it, everybody’s tripping out. It is what it is.
"At the same time, I’m still blessed to be in the situation I’m in. I’m blessed to be in the NBA. Once I do get that opportunity again, they won’t be able to deny it after that."
Thomas was going through a lot during his hip injury just over a year ago, as the passing of his sister occurred while the Celtics were deep into the playoffs.
He ultimately decided to play as basketball helped with his mourning, but this would affect the contract he would receive in the future. His hip injury plagued into the 2017-18 season.
The Celtics shipped Thomas off to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he struggled to fit in and, following his poor play and further hip issues, he was moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers. He's now at the Denver Nuggets on a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum.
Now fully recovered, Kawhi has learned from Thomas' mistakes and has created himself an opportunity to earn a huge deal next summer as a free agent if he has a good season with the Raptors.
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