Will we ever hear the end of this, as the saga continues between the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard?
As the drama between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs continues to dominate NBA headlines, no one in the situation wins. The Spurs can’t gain control of the situation, leverage in trade talks seem to shift every other day, and no one is happy.
This seems like it’s Kawhi Leonard and his camp (or just his uncle) vs. the Spurs, but no one is coming out of this situation a winner.
Bleacher Report’s Tom Haberstroh had ESPN reporter Mike C. Wright on his latest episode of the Back to Back podcast, and the main takeaway was how uninvolved the Spurs were in Leonard’s rehabilitation process.
According to Wright, the Spurs rarely had any knowledge of how the rehab process was going after giving Leonard’s camp control of the situation.
Spurs fans and NBA followers alike have started wondering how much say Leonard has had in all the drama. His uncle, Dennis Robertson, might be the one doing everything possible to get Leonard out of a Spurs jersey.
“There was a point during his rehab process in New York that some of the Spurs brass went out to see him in New York,” Wright told Haberstroh. “As soon as those guys arrived to the building, Leonard’s people grabbed him and sequestered him to another part of the building so the Spurs’ people couldn’t even see him.”
The time Kawhi’s people tried to hide Kawhi from Spurs staffers in NYC
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) July 5, 2018
Don’t be fooled by any of this — Leonard and his camp don’t have the leverage. Neither do the Spurs. As it stands, no one wins from this.
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First, Leonard wanted to be a Spur for his entire career. Then, Leonard wanted to play in Los Angeles with LeBron James. Now that LeBron is finally a Laker, Leonard reportedly prefers to join the Clippers, as reported by Wright on the Back to Back podcast. Wright seems to believe that Leonard no longer wants to play for a super team and wants a team of his own.
There are trust issues between the two parties, but from a non-biased opinion, Leonard had his own team in San Antonio and had the liberty of not having to deal with an intense media presence.
As the Leonard roulette continues to spin, the arrow seemingly points towards the Clippers, a destination where he gets to play in Los Angeles but has his own team.
The Clippers simply don’t have attractive pieces for a potential Leonard trade. A trade revolving around Tobias Harris and recent Clipper picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson just isn’t appealing for the Spurs. Most of the appeal plummeted after the Clippers used their picks two weeks ago.
Teams continue to be concerned with Leonard’s health. Simply put, no one knows the status of Leonard’s thigh. Combine that with the impending player option and enormous payday he’s in line for, and it’s enough to scare off most teams in the NBA.
There’s the new possibility that Leonard sits out next season if the Spurs refuse to move him.
Stephen A Smith just reported league executives are telling him don't be shocked if Kawhi Leonard sits out NEXT season as well to get to LA – wowowowow.
— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) July 2, 2018
Leonard would be unwise to sit out next season. It’s not that he needs to prove his worth, but he needs to prove that he is healthy enough to merit earning a max contract. Had there not been a misdiagnosis or disagreement over the diagnosis, we’d be in a different situation. Leonard could be looking at a huge drop in his contract money if he sits out next season.
There’s no clear solution to this issue. For Leonard, there’s a very easy solution to all of this, and it’s something he’ll have to do if he really wants to play in Los Angeles- talk to the media.
In the meantime, we follow Michael C. Wright’s advice, “Until something happens, we just don’t know. So I’m just sitting back with popcorn and a beer.”