Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue claims forward Kawhi Leonard is excited to get back on the court and also praised him for showing great leadership skills this offseason on and off the court. Leonard, who declined to sign a new deal with the Toronto Raptors and chase back-to-back NBA titles, signed with the Clippers in the summer of 2019 but his first season in Los Angeles didn't go as expected.
The Clippers, who entered the season as the top favorite to win the NBA Championship, exited the playoffs after blowing a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Denver Nuggets. Long-time Clippers coach Doc Rivers paid the price for the epic playoff collapse and now Lue is the Clippers' head coach.
"Just as far as me talking to Kawhi, he is excited to get back on the court," Lue said, per ESPN. "When you are dealing with great players, when you lose early on in the playoffs, you are always eager to get back.
That is what great players do. We all failed at our goal last season, and we all know that."
Leonard wants the Clippers to have a good chemistry
"Kawhi has done a great job of taking [initiative] to get guys on the phone, talking to guys, seeing guys more," Lue added.
"He has done a great job of that. He is excited to get back on the floor just from talking to him, and we are all excited, as well." Paul George, who also signed with the Clippers in the summer of 2019, thinks the lack of practice the team had caused some of the problems the Clippers had last year.
"I relate it to we didn't practice during the whole year, and that is hard to do when you are putting a fresh new group of guys together," George said. "The problems you have during games, those s--- can be ironed out in practice.
You are going to bump heads in practice, but you are going to come out of that practice like, 'OK, I understand this dude. I know where he is coming from.' When it happened during games, it is going to rub a little differently.
"It is hard to come back from that, especially in the playoffs. Then you are like, 'OK, that is what he's on. So all right, I got you.' That is kind of how the team, that is how we was and how we went about it after stuff started unfolding and unraveling."