Those were the words Kawhi texted to Kyle Lowry, “a day later or the day I got traded.” The message also read “Let’s go out there and do something special.”
Kawhi has always been, and probably always will be an enigma for all of us. He just doesn’t share as much, that’s not his nature. The access most players gives us a false conclusion that because we don’t see it, it didn’t happen.
We were all shocked when the trade was announced. Kawhi was shocked. He wasn’t happy – those were not the destinations he named as preferable when it became obvious the Spurs will trade him.
Yet, he was still mature enough and a leader to put his emotions aside and reach out to Lowry, who’s best friend and teammate just got traded. That’s the first thing a leader does – you put yourself in the shoes of others and then make your comments and decisions. It’s not an original concept – Napoleon slept with his troops in the mud.
Compare that to everything Kyrie did this year. All the comments and social media posts – the complete opposite of what you want. So when Kawhi takes games off and tells the team he needs rest, there is trust there. You don’t have teammates thinking “is he really hurting or is he milking it and already thinking about the Clippers?”
And that may be the tipping point for him to stay. He knows he has it in Toronto. Worth wearing a jacket for.