As of Monday, the San Antonio Spurs can offer Kawhi Leonard the supermax, but it’s a worthless proposal at this point.
Happy supermax day? Nine months ago, the San Antonio Spurs offering Kawhi Leonard the supermax contract extension of five years, $221 million seemed inevitable. After six smooth seasons in the Alamo City, there was every reason for Leonard to accept it. One everlasting saga and one trade request later, everything has changed.
Once upon a time, Leonard was the quiet superstar leading San Antonio to 60-plus win seasons and challenging the Golden State Warriors for a spot in the NBA Finals. As recent as September 2017, everyone was happy-go-lucky over him cracking a rare smile in China. Remember those days?
The 2016-17 campaign preceded this — the last time Leonard was at full strength and months before the controversy began — arguably was his brightest moment, with a career-high 25.5 points per game and finishing No. 3 in the NBA MVP voting. It appeared the best was yet to come from someone in the running to win the 2017-18 MVP, and that happened weeks before the season start.
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Then came the falling of the dominos:
- The quadriceps injury
- The December return
- The shoulder injury
- The second return
- The subsequent shutdown
- The arrival of tension rumors between the two sides that seemed unbelievable
- The increased noise of them in the late winter and early spring
- The desire to remain a Spur for life
- The teased March return that never happened
- Where we are now
In all this time, Leonard has kept his quiet profile intact, barely speaking a word to the media to clear notions about the rumors that surround him. Instead, the silence provides new life by the day.
These last 10 months have consumed what was a copacetic run in San Antonio, which appeared to be following in David Robinson and Tim Duncan’s shoes as the next superstar to run the table in the Silver and Black. It had the potential to continue this franchise’s winning appeal, even after Gregg Popovich’s tenure ends in an undetermined amount of time.
Now, not even a supermax contract can save this, even with Leonard making less on an extension anywhere else he goes. Unless something changes before the season starts, it’s 221 million worthless reasons to offer.