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28 October 2019 22:46

Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder Utah Jazz

Kawhi Leonard Tells Serge Ibaka He Doesn't Know If He's Returning to Raptors

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors runs down the floor in the first half against the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) On the latest episode of "How Hungry Are You?" Kawhi Leonard samples Serge Ibaka's cuisine while his teammates made a sales pitch for the Toronto Raptors. What happens when Kawhi Leonard, the soft-spoken superstar of the Toronto Raptors, is asked to eat bull penis pizza made by Serge Ibaka? Generally, the segments are supposed to be fun but this version offers some candid moments and Leonard letting his guard a little bit but not entirely, unfortunately. Obviously, Ibaka was looking to get the answer to a question every fan and the Raptors organization and you can't fault him either considering how much debate there has been on the topic.

Also credit "Mafuzzy Chef" to have the balls to try and get Leonard to eat such an unorthodox dish while throwing in some personal questions. It really speaks to the relationship Ibaka and Kawhi have developed and while it might not be the deciding factor on whether he stays or go, it probably hasn't hurt the team's chances. Leonard did admit he wants to go visit Niagara Falls and be a part of Caribana this summer so hopefully, those experiences can show the 27-year-old that he should put his roots down here. When it comes to the dish itself it was funny when Leonard kept asking "where's your plate? An interesting part of the video was listening to Leonard and Ibaka talk about the playoffs and their experiences.

Hearing them talk about going to the Finals and realizing how tough it is to get back there it makes you appreciate their attitude towards having post-season success. The Raptors will host the Orlando Magic in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET and hopefully Ibaka doesn't try to cook for Leonard during the playoffs because the last thing the team needs is Kawhi being unavailable with an "illness". Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard told teammate Serge Ibaka that he doesn't know whether he will return to the team after this season. When Ibaka asked Leonard if he'll come back next year, Leonard said, "I don't know yet": Leonard can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer. The interaction occurred on Ibaka's YouTube show "How Hungry Are You?" The Raptors big man interviews teammates and serves them an eclectic range of foods on the series.

The three-time All-Star played seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs before an offseason trade sent him to Toronto. Leonard and the Spurs did not end on good terms, as Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Those factors could conceivably play a role in Leonard staying with the Raptors, although Stephen A. Smith of ESPN is convinced Leonard will head back home to Southern California and play for the Los Angeles Clippers next season: Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com reported Jan. 3 that league executives believe Leonard will choose between the Clips and Raps. Regardless of which team lands the two-way superstar, Leonard, Ibaka and the Raptors have some work to do.

Toronto begins its quest to win the NBA Finals on Saturday when it hosts the first matchup of a seven-game series against the No. 7 seed Orlando Magic at 5 p.m. ET. On this week's episode, Raptors centre Serge Ibaka joins the show to discuss the following topics: The Serge Ibaka Foundation Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka (9) reacts after a teammate scores and draws a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Miami. Serge Ibaka could have pouted, could have sulked, could have slumped when Marc Gasol kept getting thrown out as Toronto's starting centre. Ibaka was the ninth and final Raptor to check in against Miami and his -17 mark was ugly, but Ibaka also had some big moments. He blocked three shots, defending inside with aplomb, grabbed a couple of big offensive boards and hit a high percentage of his shots (though none from deep for the second game in a row after nailing his previous six).

free battle

Overall this year Ibaka's reined in his three-point attempts quite a bit, got to the free throw line more frequently, has his second-best true shooting percentage, his best defensive rebounding percentage, by far his best assist rate without much of a rise in turnover percentage, his most win shares since his early Thunder days and a big bounce back in box plus/minus. The Raptors and Ibaka have to be thrilled with his season so far, but after his tough playoffs, he'll need to keep it rolling this year. There was a clip going around on Twitter Sunday (via SB Nation's Mike Prada) of Pascal Siakam showing why he's so valuable on the defensive end (his numbers speak for themselves on offence). But when Goran Dragic declined to launch a long three-pointer, instead getting past Kyle Lowry to drive to the hoop Siakam was there to force Dragic into a bad pass. Dragic got the ball back and Siakam was all over the former all-star point guard, then checked Dwyane Wade after a handoff. Even this deep into the season, it's still amazing sometimes to see how easily Kawhi Leonard seems to create separation on his jump shots. Even a tall, long, athletic, good defender like James Johnson can't get close to Kawhi. Fully agree with the many arguing Leonard gets fewer foul calls than most stars. It's probably because he's so big and strong and because he grunts, but doesn't wave his arms (too often, anyway) and try to sell calls. The Raptors blew the doors off of the Heat in overtime and it all started with two brilliant passes to Danny Green: The first was one you've likely seen by now, Leonard smartly tapping the ball out to his longtime teammate. A few weeks ago I issued this tweet with regards to Kawhi Leonard's impending free agency. there some stuff on kawhi's free agency in my tl rn, so my take is that no one has any clue whether kawhi is going to go to la, toronto, charlotte or fucking china and if ur trying to guess where hes going off some canned quotes and a vacation home in san diego ur wasting ur time — A Small, Helpless Child Who Never Writes (@Jacob_M_Mack) February 24, 2019 But, also per multiple sources, Leonard is "the happiest we've ever seen him" playing for the Toronto Raptors, and per Leonard himself he "values winning above all else" and has been happy about the way the organization has handled the process of bringing him back from an injury. And all of a $udden, if called upon, I'm very confident that I could di$cu$$the minutiae of Kawhi Leonard'$impending free agency with great vigor multiple time$a week. wow serge really went there with kawhi pic.twitter.com/eOwUVD7tLW — William Lou (@william_lou) March 19, 2019 Serge Ibaka's aforementioned breakout webseries, where he feeds his teammates bizarre dishes, ranging from lamb brains to pig heads, has been an off-court highlight of the Raptors' year so far. Ibaka is a natural showman, good-looking, charismatic and with a flair for the dramatic. His teammates (and former teammates) held up their end of the bargain when it came to making the show entertaining, with demonstrative guys like Pascal Siakam, Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan showing appropriately hilarious levels of disgust and shock at the dishes Ibaka served them. However, even with the show's past successes, this coming episode of "how hungry are you?" (no capitals, apparently) is by far the most anticipated. Link in Bio #howhungryareyou pic.twitter.com/WP6w3VMhTw — Serge Ibaka (@sergeibaka) March 16, 2019 Throughout the year there was much debate among the Raptors' fanbase over whether Ibaka would be able to get the notoriously camera-shy Kawhi Leonard to appear on his show. Leonard is cagey when it comes to doing interviews, and his social medias are notoriously inactive, making him the near polar opposite of Ibaka, who is essentially a part-time Instagram model at this point. Nonetheless, after what was no doubt a season of constant pestering, Ibaka was finally able secure his white whale: Leonard would appear on the show. Pay attention to how Ibaka revealed this to us in the above video: teasing us first, before surprising us with a "twist" ending. 0:02-0:06: Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard's co-star, has long made a point of never recruiting anyone to join the Raptors. He wants to ensure players are not guilted or tricked or coerced into signing anywhere, they simply make the choice that they believe is right for them when it comes to their free agency. This also appears to be the Raptors organizational stance on Kawhi's impending free agency. They have made a point not to put any pressure or expectations on Leonard, instead just stepping back, and ensuring he's healthy, comfortable and playing for a winning team. However, this strategy appears not to have reached the ears of one Sergeballu Ibaka, who without a stutter or hesitation, asks the question that the Raptors' fanbase is dying to know the answer to. Is Kawhi coming back? For Kawhi silence is essentially a trademark, and he's certainly staying on brand here. At this point I want you to recall that Serge Ibaka is a natural showman. By framing his question in the way he did he has created the dramatic environment he loves and thrives in, but he is not genuinely inquiring into Kawhi's free agency decision here. No, he is asking if Kawhi will be back for… Of "how hungry are you?" presented by Serge Ibaka, available at youtube.com/sergeibaka9. He's asking if Kawhi will guest on his show again next year. And most importantly, now that I been given hundreds of good reasons to actually care about this stuff, will Kawhi be back on the Raptors next year? Kawhi is bonding with his teammates, bonds that would be limited, if not lost entirely, if he departed in free agency.