According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the relationship between the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard might be worse.
The Kawhi Leonard saga continued to stretch its legs this week, when San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he would be “surprised” if his star player returned this season. A report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski followed this, as he noted Leonard is medically cleared to return, but chose not to come back.
Well, Wojarnowski added more fuel to the fire on the latest episode of The Woj Pod (h/t RealGM). He said there’s a “tremendous disconnect” between the Spurs and Leonard. It’s attributed to everything from how the injury was handled, no public statement from Leonard on his quad, and as recent as Popovich’s “surprised” comment to the media. Wojnarowski sought an underlying meaning to the five-time champion’s comments:
“Essentially [Popovich] said, ‘well at this point I don’t expect him to play and if he’s going to play, this needs to happen soon because we’ll be faced with a very tough decision: at what point is it too late to try to bring him back into the team?’
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With just 23 games left in the season, it may indeed be too late for Leonard’s return. His minutes would need to be controlled and potentially disrupt the rotation just weeks before the playoffs start.
Wojnarowski felt it was the first time Popovich’s private frustrations went public, and thought it was clear in how he detailed it to the media. Those frustrations may tie to Leonard’s future in the Alamo City, which Wojnarowski did not seem confident about:
“For the first time you could see the public exacerbation of Pop on this issue. It has been a private frustration there. I thought it was the first day you could see it. This continues on and I think his future in San Antonio if he doesn’t come back and play this year, or if he comes back in a very limited way. He’ll be a year away from free agency, I think his future is going to have to be addressed there.”
After the LaMarcus Aldridge saga of 2017, which simmered after a heart-to-heart conversation and a contract extension, it seems the Spurs may have a bigger problem on their hands. That depends if the organization and Leonard can mend fences and move on. However, it’s easier said than done, which will stem from how he progresses from a quad injury that was first reported in September, and if this relationship can be repaired.
Let’s see if anything develops from this latest report from Wojnarowski. Will Leonard speak on his injury?