San Antonio Spurs News

Spurs will ‘explore all options’ on Kawhi Leonard but want to keep him

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 5: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns on January 5, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 5: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns on January 5, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
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San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford spoke on the Kawhi Leonard saga after the 2018 NBA Draft.

The 2018 NBA Draft took the focus away from the drama between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs for five hours. With it over, though, the attention goes back to arguably the offseason’s biggest storyline: will the Spurs trade their disgruntled star player?

After the draft, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford spoke on the Leonard saga to multiple media outlets. It started with ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, who reported that Buford said San Antonio plans to “exhaust all resources to keep Leonard with the team.” There’s also a clip of some of his comments.

Spurs GM RC Buford says the franchise’s plan is to exhaust all resources to keep Kawhi Leonard with the team.

— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) June 22, 2018

Here’s Spurs GM R.C. Buford on Kawhi Leonard: pic.twitter.com/XXG6rzdxQZ

— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) June 22, 2018

Jeff McDonald’s quote from Buford echoed this. The Spurs want to try whatever possible to keep Leonard, but will “explore all options.” Teams reached out to the organization to gauge interest, including the Los Angeles Lakers, and offers are apparently being listened to.

RC Buford acknowledges Spurs will "explore all options" with regards to Kawhi Leonard, but first one is to do what they can to keep him on the roster for as long as possible.

— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) June 22, 2018

Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News asked for a timetable on the Leonard drama. He said “yesterday.” At this point, then, a timetable seems unknown.

Asked RC Buford if he has a deadline for when he’d like to have the Kawhi drama settled. “Yesterday,” he said.

— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) June 22, 2018

Basically, it seems there’s no end in sight on the Leonard drama, but it’s no guarantee the Spurs trade him. Buford sounds interested, to no surprise, in trying to keep the star player he traded for in the 2011 NBA Draft and the face of the franchise, so this could last into July and maybe August, once the free-agent market cools.

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By the end of the summer, though, what can the Spurs get for Leonard? There’s potential draft-pick compensation, but that’s not until 2019. Maybe a team uses assets acquired in the 2018 draft to make a trade. If not, there’s plenty that can develop over the upcoming days, weeks and months, whether or not a trade ever happens. The Spurs worked out tensions with LaMarcus Aldridge, so can it happen again?

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