Kawhi Leonard in Vancouver with L.A. Clippers
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) walks off the court at the end of the first half in Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee on Friday, May 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Published Tuesday, October 15, 2019 11:43AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 17, 2019 8:47AM PDT
VANCOUVER - The former King of the North is expected to return to a Canadian basketball court Thursday for the first time since leaving the Toronto Raptors.
Kawhi Leonard's new team, the L.A. Clippers, are facing off against the Dallas Mavericks in a pre-season game at Vancouver's Rogers Arena. It's part of the NBA Canada Series, and tickets to the 7:30 p.m. game are still available starting at about $110.
Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to a season championship in June, but left shortly after to play for his hometown team.
Leonard made his pre-season debut with the Clippers Oct. 11 at the L.A. Staples Center. The Clippers lost, but not before Leonard scored seven points and six assists during the 11 minutes he played.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told the Vancouver Sun Leonard is expected to suit up again for the Vancouver game.
Fans' reaction to Leonard returning to Canada could be raucous, and it's not known if Vancouver-based Raptors fans will be happy to see Board Man again or whether they'll harbour hard feelings over his swift departure.
Thursday's game should also be lively because a dedicated group of Vancouver Grizzlies fans are planning a rally outside to show potential investors there's support for a new NBA team in the city. The Grizzlies, Vancouver's former NBA team, left for Memphis in 2001.