According to multiple reports, the Raptors have hired Jeremy Castleberry as a player development coach.
Normally, the hiring of a player development coach wouldn’t garner a second look. This is no ordinary coaching hire, however.
Bringing on Castleberry is a calculated move by the Raptors in an effort to make Leonard more comfortable with his new team. The former Spurs assistant video coordinator worked closely with the 2014 Finals MVP during his time in San Antonio.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the duo’s relationship goes much farther back than the NBA.
Castleberry is one of Leonard’s closest childhood friends, having played high-school basketball with the All-NBA forward. Castleberry and Leonard also attended San Diego State University together during the latter’s two-year collegiate career.
With Leonard’s heart seemingly set on playing in Los Angeles, a move of this nature can only bode well for the Raptors in the organization’s quest to retain its newly acquired superstar’s services beyond the 2018-19 season.