NBA Basketball

Leonard quiet on future as Raptors celebrate with parade

By IAN HARRISON

Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) Fresh off leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title, Kawhi Leonard received the key to the city at Monday's championship parade and rally.

For now, however, the two-way star and two-time NBA Finals MVP isn't saying whether he'll use it to keep a door open or close it behind him and move on.

Leonard spent several days partying with his teammates in Las Vegas and Los Angeles after last Thursday's Game 6 clincher over Golden State, returning to Toronto in time to ride in one of five open-top double-decker buses that carried the Raptors along a crowded parade route.

A three-time All-Star and two-time NBA defensive player of the year, Leonard is expected to decline the player option on the final year of his contract and become a free agent. Toronto can offer him a five-year deal worth around $190 million, one year and some $50 million more than any other team.

Before stepping on stage Monday for a ceremony in the square outside Toronto's City Hall, Leonard said he hasn't been thinking about his future. Instead, he's trying to extend the celebratory vibe as long as possible.

"I'm enjoying this" he said. "It's not time to stress, it's still time to have some fun. I've just been enjoying my experience."

After two months of playoff basketball, Leonard doesn't have a lot of time left to be a fun guy - free agency gets underway at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 30.

"I'm going to take the right time," he said. "You don't need too many days to figure it out. We'll see what happens. Once that time comes, then we'll all lay the pros and cons out."

Visibly bothered by soreness during stretches of the Eastern Conference Finals against Milwaukee, Leonard declined to say how much pain he endured en route to winning his second career title.

"We're always battling through things," he said. "You know, knee pains, ankles, fingers. Everybody was just grinding it out."

Injured for all but nine games in his final season with San Antonio, Leonard played 60 regular-season games for Toronto and 24 more in the postseason, upping his minutes once April arrived.

While winning the Larry O'Brien Trophy was an obvious success, Leonard said he has enjoyed all aspects of his season north of the border, even the varied Canadian weather.

"It was a good experience, experiencing Mother Nature, all four seasons," he said. "Man, it was a great experience. Everybody off the court was great. The fans, just meeting people in Canada. It's been fun."

Fans chanted "Stay! Stay! Stay!" when Toronto Mayor John Tory presented Leonard with the key.

Later, the festive mood of the event was marred by gunfire. Four people were shot, leading to a stampede. Three people were arrested and two guns were recovered, police said.

Leonard is one of three Raptors starters with uncertain futures. Center Marc Gasol also has a player option, while guard Danny Green is a free agent.

Guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet and forward Serge Ibaka are heading into the final year of their contracts.

Ibaka and Leonard have become friends in their time together as teammates.

"I've been talking with him a lot during the season and in the playoffs, but after we won, I can see the man is happy," Ibaka said. "That's the most important. We play this sport because we want to enjoy and have fun and be happy and be somewhere people love you. I'm sure he feels that people here love him, and after this moment, that's the most important."

Lowry attended the parade wearing a game-worn Damon Stoudamire pinstripe Raptors jersey. Stoudamire was the first player drafted by Toronto in 1995 and won rookie-of-the-year honors in 1996. Lowry and Stoudamire were teammates in Memphis from 2006 to 2008.

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Updated June 18, 2019

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Teams Score Time
Interleague
New York 14 F
Minnesota 4
Washington 2 F
Baltimore 9
Arizona 19 F
Texas 4
American League
Seattle 2 F
Oakland 10
Tampa Bay   Postponed
New York  
Detroit 2 F
Cleveland 7
Toronto 4 F
Boston 5
Chicago 5 F
Kansas City 7
Houston 11 F
Los Angeles 2
Toronto   1:05pm
Boston  
Chicago   1:15pm
Kansas City  
Tampa Bay   7:05pm
New York  
Detroit   7:10pm
Cleveland  
Oakland   8:10pm
Minnesota  
Houston   9:07pm
Los Angeles  
National League
Pittsburgh 5 F
St. Louis 6
Atlanta 4 F
Milwaukee 5
Cincinnati 2 F
Chicago 5
San Francisco 11 F
Colorado 8
Los Angeles 7 F
Philadelphia 2
San Diego 3 F
Miami 2
San Diego   12:10pm
Miami  
Los Angeles   12:35pm
Philadelphia  
St. Louis   7:10pm
Cincinnati  
Washington   7:20pm
Atlanta  
Milwaukee   9:40pm
Arizona  
New York   9:45pm
San Francisco  
The Open Championship
Pos Name Score Thru
1 Webb Simpson -5 13
2 Shane Lowry -4 15
2 Robert McIntyr -4 12
4 Sergio Garcia -3 14
4 Kevin Kisner -3 6
4 Alexander Noren -3 14
4 Dylan Frittelli -3 12
8 Corey Conners -2 6
8 Romain Langasque -2 17
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT KENTUCKY
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 1 Kurt Busch 4
2 18 Kyle Busch 10
3 20 Erik Jones 21
4 42 Kyle Larson 19
5 11 Denny Hamlin 18
6 14 Clint Bowyer 7
7 22 Joey Logano 11
8 41 Daniel Suarez 1
9 6 Ryan Newman 23
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT KENTUCKY
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 00 Cole Custer 5
2 20 Christopher Bell 2
3 2 Tyler Reddick 8
4 1 Michael Annett 10
5 98 Chase Briscoe 9
6 9 Noah Gragson 3
7 7 Justin Allgaier 4
8 8 Ryan Truex 12
9 39 Ryan Sieg 13
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT KENTUCKY
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 17 Tyler Ankrum 9
2 52 Stewart Friesen 32
3 18 Harrison Burton 6
4 45 Ross Chastain 5
5 15 Dylan Lupton 20
6 22 Austin Self 16
7 24 Brett Moffitt 7
8 11 Spencer Davis 21
9 44 Jeb Burton 28