NBA notes: Kawhi Leonard says he’s focusing on present, not future
Kawhi Leonard knows that people want to know his future plans. He’s more focused on the here and now.
Leonard spoke out as a member of the Toronto Raptors for the first time on Monday, and one of the questions he fielded at media day was about his future — specifically, whether it includes staying in Toronto past this season.
He didn’t offer any hints. Leonard says when it comes to what’s next, he looks at it “as a day-to-day process.”
Leonard says his focus “is on this year, this group that I have and striving to get to a championship. We all want to win and if you’re looking in the future you’re going to trip over the present.”
The Raptors held their media day in Toronto, and are flying to British Columbia for training camp that starts Tuesday.
In other NBA news from media days:
— Hornets point guard Kemba Walker says he doesn’t want go play for a super team. He wants to stay in Charlotte. The two-time NBA All-Star becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. There is expected to be plenty of interest in him around the league next summer, but Walker says unequivocally that his goal is to continue playing for Michael Jordan’s Hornets.
The 28-year-old Walker is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and is entering his eighth season with the Hornets. He said, “You see guys who are on elite teams. I don’t want to do that. I want to create something special here in Charlotte, something that we have never had here before. I want to create some consistency. And I want to be a part of that.”
— Kristaps Porzingis says he is taking a conservative approach to his recovery from a torn ACL and has no timetable for his return to the court. Porzingis was injured in February and the Knicks have said he won’t return until both the team and player are certain he is ready.
Porzingis said Monday during Knicks media day that he is running lightly but not sprinting yet. Part of the reason for taking the rehab process slowly, he says, is that doctors say there is no precedent for a 7-foot-3 player recovering from that type of knee injury. Porzingis also says he is not thinking about a contract extension, which he would have to sign before the season starts or wait until next summer.
— New Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard could miss the start of training camp with a bad back. Wizards coach Scott Brooks said Monday at the team’s media day that Howard’s back is sore and his status is considered day-to-day. Brooks says “we’ll see how he feels” on Tuesday, the first day of camp. The coach says the Wizards are “not going to rush him.”
— Miami coach Erik Spoelstra predicts most Heat players won’t sleep well on Monday night, because they know what’s coming in the first day of practice on Tuesday. Dwyane Wade said Monday at the Heat’s media day that he’ll sleep just fine. The three-time NBA champion, who’s entering his 16th and final season, said he’s “trying to enjoy this, the first of the last, whatever it is, the last of the first, I don’t know, the last of the lasts. I’m just trying to enjoy it. There’s nothing that they can do to me this year that I haven’t seen or been a part of or done.”
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