The former San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is once again at the center of untimely injury issues and controversy. Much like with the Spurs, it likely will end in a late playoff collapse followed by an uncertain summer.
The Phoenix Suns completed an ugly 84-80 win at the Staples Center on Saturday to move within one game of the NBA Finals. Leonard, meanwhile, was watching from a suite in the upper deck. It was the sixth straight missed postseason game for the two-time Finals MVP, who injured his knee in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
"It's good. Next question," said Leonard after that game, which is likely to be his last for the rest of the playoffs, considering the injury is ACL-related.
Obviously, the decision to sit is a no-brainer for both Leonard and the LA Clippers, as ACL injuries can easily be career-threatening. Even as someone who's called out Kawhi and his uncle's handling of past situations often, of course, I still hope his injury isn't serious and he can recover fully and quickly.
The spirit of the discourse currently happening on social media isn't about Leonard sitting out. Some of it is coming from comments made by Skip Bayless, a known past Spurs supporter who's since become an unbearable media personality focused on being human clickbait instead of doing real sports analysis. Still, as I've personally learned here at Air Alamo, wherever there's even a hint of Kawhi slander, there's a wide audience listening.
"I have been told by a very good source that the first issue became Kawhi [being] unhappy with the Clippers medical staff," said Bayless on FS1.'s Undisputed. "Because he felt that they, early on, misdiagnosed and underplayed the extent of this knee injury."
If that sounds familiar, well, that's because it was the exact reason Leonard and Uncle Dennis Robertson claimed things fell apart in San Antonio.
Call me a skeptic, but even though it's coming from someone as unreliable as Bayless, I can't help but think there's at least a little bit of truth to what he's saying. I don't really take his quote from "a very good source" at face value, but I do feel like the communication between Leonard and his camp and the team isn't ideal.
It's a little strange to me that the most we've been given as far as a diagnosis is "ACL injury" or "knee injury". And if it's either of those, I'm still confused as to why he's still being treated on a day-to-day basis? Any type of ACL injury almost always means you're done for weeks. Is his injury really that difficult to define once again?
Longtime News 4 San Antonio sports reporter Don Harris didn't hold back on the matter on Twitter.
Tim Morrow, President and CEO of the San Antonio Zoo, has long been outspoken about Kawhi Leonard since his departure, with this recent tweet calling him a fraud and a diva:
The above linked article from NBC Sports cited ESPN's Michael C. Wright quoting Leonard has having said the following to his Spurs teammates: “I’ll do anything for all you guys in this room, but not this organization.”
The recent roasting of Leonard also has something to do with the latest bit of news from Yahoo's Chris Haynes, who told NBA TV it's "highly unlikely" Leonard will travel with the team to Phoenix for Game 5 since the elevation wouldn't be good for his knee.
Longtime Spurs fan Brett Solis also didn't hold back with his thoughts.
Rudy Campos Jr, the host of San Antonio radio show "The Sports Dime", quickly pointed out that traveling to Phoenix shouldn't be that hard while still avoiding the elevation of air travel.
According to Google Maps, it's less than a 5.5 hour drive from the Staples Center to Phoenix Suns Arena.
And finally, Spurs Digital Contributor Ty Jager asked the question all of San Antonio is asking the world right now.
Say what you will about Kawhi Leonard's off-the-charts talent, but right now the sequel of his career is beginning to look a lot like the original.