Last year, Kawhi Leonard refused to play almost the entire season for the San Antonio Spurs. He claimed injuries while his coaches said he was being given bad advice from those around him. By the end of the year, it was clear that Leonard wanted to play somewhere else [VIDEO]and also made it clear that the place he wanted to play was for the Los Angeles Lakers alongside LeBron James. The Spurs refused to trade him to a conference rival and sent him instead to the Toronto Raptors. Leonard was angry at the trade but something has happened since that time.

Kawhi Leonard on LeBron James

Kawhi Leonard might have seen something different playing for the Toronto Raptors.

He no longer has to compete against the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference. LeBron James made it to a handful of consecutive NBA Finals because of his talent and the lack of competition in the East.

While the Golden State Warriors have a stranglehold on the West again this season, it is the Toronto Raptors that sit alone in first place in the Eastern Conference. Winning cures a lot of ills. At 11-1, Leonard is sitting at the head of a table for a team that has a chance to make the NBA Finals this year.

With that said, it sounds like Kawhi Leonard doesn't want to play with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers anymore. Kawhi reportedly said that he would rather have control over his own team rather than join LeBron and play second fiddle to the King in Los Angeles.

Kawki and the Raptors

After sitting out almost all of last season, Kawhi Leonard is back proving why many considered him one of the top stars in the NBA. He is averaging 26 points, eight rebounds and 2.2 assists a game this year for the Toronto Raptors. There is the problem that he is still missing games, sitting out four so far this season, but Leonard is playing very strong when he is on the court, hitting 49 percent of his shots and 44 percent from beyond the arc.

Interestingly, when fans were thinking the that Southern California born Kawhi Leonard wanted to come back home to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, that might have been a bit of California dreaming. In an interview with ESPN, Kawhi said that he was never a Lakers fan as a kid and preferred Allen Iverson.

Kawhi Leonard also watched from the bench this week as his Toronto Raptors blew out the Los Angeles Lakers, 121-107, and that might help him decide that having his own team in the East is better than playing with LeBron James in the West [VIDEO].