"Right now, I feel great," Leonard said at his introductory press conference in Toronto, which came more than two months after he was dealt to the Raptors in a summer blockbuster that sent DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio.
"Ready to play basketball."
Subtle as they are, those four words carry weight when uttered by a perennial MVP candidate who was limited to just nine games last season while dealing with a mysterious leg injury that eroded his relationship with the Spurs.
Leonard missed last year's preseason with what the Spurs called a right thigh injury before his absence eventually extended into December. After the two-time All-Star was sidelined again in January due to a shoulder injury, and with his quadriceps tendinopathy flaring up, he never returned to the court for San Antonio.
Along the way, the two sides squabbled over Leonard's ability to return from injury. The Spurs said the decision rested with Leonard's camp, while Leonard reportedly believed San Antonio mishandled his recovery.
On Monday, his new team sounded optimistic that those questions are behind him.
"We think it's all systems go," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse told reporters, adding that the team will do its due diligence with respect to monitoring Leonard's health.
During his last two healthy seasons between 2015-16 and 2016-17, Leonard averaged 23.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.8 steals on 49-41-88 percent shooting, finishing top-3 in MVP voting both years.