Kawhi Leonard said he wants to finish his career with the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s no secret that Kawhi Leonard‘s rehabilitation process has been a strain on the moral of the San Antonio Spurs organization. Having your star player out for almost the whole season would be stressful for any team. When reports came out in January about Kawhi’s discontent with the rehabilitation process, and the situation in San Antonio as a whole, Spurs fans everywhere held their collective breath.
Hearing the words “Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio” stopped my heart. This was the man who was supposed to be the next great Spur. It certainly seemed like that was going to be the case after he signed a 5-year deal that could keep him with the team until the end of the 2019-2020 season. After the initial reports came out that Kawhi was unhappy with the situation “sources” started reporting that Kawhi’s uncle, Dennis Robertson, was trying to get Kawhi back to Los Angeles. Kawhi’s camp quickly refuted those claims. Robertson told the San Antonio Express-News that there was no truth to the rumors that Kawhi wanted out of San Antonio.
“There is nothing true to that story,” Robertson told the Express-News hours after the story published. “Kawhi’s camp and the Spurs are how they’ve always been – doing the right thing for the team and the right thing for Kawhi.”
Today, after weeks of nail-biting over the future of their superstar, Spurs fans finally got the news that we had all been hoping for. Leonard doesn’t want to leave the Alamo City.
Asked if he would like to finish his career as a Spur, Leonard said, "Yeah, for sure." #Spurs
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) March 7, 2018
And now, a look at Spurs fans celebrating the good news.
Should we be surprised? Probably not. Kawhi has always appeared to be the prototypical Spur. Quiet, focused, and content to fly under the radar and make the playoffs year after year with a championship thrown in here and there. Still, hearing him affirm what Spurs fans have been waiting to hear for weeks is a relief.
According to CBS Sports, Leonard hopes to return to the Spurs sooner rather than later.
“Soon,” Leonard said, when asked how close he was to getting back. “I don’t have a set date right now, but I just gotta keep doing what I’m doing. The progress that I’m making is great.”
Whether he returns this season, and how the Spurs would fit him back into the team if he were to return, remains to be seen. With the team in danger of missing out on the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, it would be a blessing to have a player of Kawhi’s caliber back on the floor. On the other hand, if the choices are between fighting for a 7th or 8th seed and taking on the Warriors or Rockets in the first round or missing out on the playoffs and securing a lottery pick for the first time in two decades the Spurs should really think about what’s best for the future of the team.
No matter what happens the rest of the season, the Spurs organization and Spurs fans everywhere should be thrilled that Leonard wants to join the ranks of lifelong Spurs.