San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard, Gregg Popovich have yet to meet
By Rob Wolkenbrod
Despite Kawhi Leonard’s reported desire to leave the San Antonio Spurs, he has yet to meet with Gregg Popovich.
Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich were expected to meet before the 2018 NBA Draft and resolve the rift to keep the star player with the San Antonio Spurs. Though, with Friday’s news that Leonard wants out, it brought up the “Did they ever meet?” question, and, if so, how did it result?
According to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, Leonard and Popovich communicated recently, but the face-to-face meeting has yet to take place. In fact, it might not happen at all.
The Leonard-Popovich meeting can still take place in the six days before the draft, but, with the trade desire public, it puts everything into question. One has to wonder if the Spurs head coach will try everything possible to get a sit-down with his future face of the franchise.
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What might not help, though, is how the Spurs found out about Leonard’s trade request: Via social media, as with the rest of us, according to Yahoo’s Shams Charania. If San Antonio ever receives the chance to meet with Leonard, tackling these communication gaffes seems like a possible talking point.
So, this might be the end of this seven-year relationship, an unforeseen occurrence to happen in the Popovich era between superstar and organization. David Robinson never left; Tim Duncan stayed loyal for 19 years; Manu Ginobili for 16; Tony Parker for 17 and counting. Leonard, if traded, marks the outlier in the group and may forever be known as the only player to want out of this regime.
Maybe a trade never happens, as the Spurs do not need to move him now, tomorrow, at next week’s draft, in July’s free-agent period, or when training camp starts. The longer San Antonio waits, the smaller the window it has to send him elsewhere. If Leonard makes his intentions clear to the organization, then it might be time to move soon.