"I have been going back and forth the last few weeks trying to figure out the right things to say, and it all comes down to two simple words: THANK YOU", the statement says.
In a "Thank You" letter, he expressed his gratitude to the city, its fans, the Spurs organization and to Gregg Popovich. That year, 22-year-old Leonard became the youngest NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Though some are more heartfelt and less robotic, thank-you letters by traded players rarely say much significantly.
"There is not a more passionate or dedicated fan base than what I've witnessed in San Antonio", he wrote.
Leonard popped up in Toronto to take a picture with Masai Ujiri after the trade was done and talk to the Raptors brass about playing for the team, but still avoided offering any public statements as Ujiri held the trade press conference alone. He appeared in nine games for the Spurs in 2017-18, last playing on January 13 before sitting out the rest of the season with a quad injury.
"Through ups and downs - glad there were many more ups! That trade right there shows you the difference between the San Antonio Spurs and other organizations". "I'll never forget I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together", he wrote.
Leonard, through his camp, publicly announced that Los Angeles is his preferred destination with the Lakers as his priority.
Leonard demanded a trade this summer away from the only team he has known, after seven mostly brilliant seasons in San Antonio.
Leonard's first home game as a member of the Toronto Raptors will come on Friday, October 19, when they host the Boston Celtics in a nationally televised contest airing on ESPN.