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Toronto Raptors

Giannis Antetokounmpo on why he wishes Kawhi Leonard had stayed with the Toronto Raptors

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Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

Rather than signing with the LA Clippers in free agency, Giannis Antetokounmpo wishes Kawhi Leonard had stayed with the Toronto Raptors this offseason.

The reason why? Antetokounmpo wanted a rematch.

"For me personally, I would love for Kawhi to stay in the East and stay in Toronto because I would love to go through the series [with them] again," Antetokounmpo told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. "But unfortunately, this is the NBA we are talking about. Moves happen. People change teams. But we got an opportunity right now. We got to take advantage of it, and hopefully, we can seize the opportunity and make big things happen.

"It's insane. Like people ask for a trade and a trade happens. Players ask for a trade, 'I want to get traded there,' and players go there. It's insane. A lot of star players have a lot of power right now. This is the league we live in. I think it's good to control your own destiny and your own career."

The Milwaukee Bucks led 2-0 on the Raptors in last season's Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors then won the next four games, one of which went into double overtime, to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, where they defeated the Golden State Warriors.

Leonard's fingerprints were all over that series. Not only did he lead all scorers with 29.8 points per game, he took on the responsibility of guarding Antetokounmpo from Game 3 onwards to great success. According to NBA.com, Leonard limited Antetokounmpo to 30 points on 12-for-34 (35.3 percent) shooting when the two were matched up together over the seven-game series. He was Toronto's most effective defender on the reigning MVP.

With Leonard now in Los Angeles, the Bucks are favoured to have the best record in the Eastern Conference again next season.

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