San Antonio Spurs History

Don't worry Clippers, Kawhi only leaves contenders

Los Angeles Clippers v New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard, Gregg Popovich / Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Will Kawhi Leonard continue his trend of bailing on teammates?

The Spurs went 67-15 with Kawhi in 2015-16, a franchise record. They followed that up with a 61-21 finish that ended with his career-altering injury that effectively put the Spurs in a consistent holding pattern as they await their next big star. The following season, he played nine total games nursing an injury until eventually forcing a trade.

In 2018-19, the Toronto Raptors pulled off the best one-year rental of all-time by scoring Kawhi in a trade with the Spurs that landed DeMar DeRozan in the Alamo City. That rental won them an NBA Championship and gave the city a chance to be on top of the basketball world for a year. Leonard then promptly departed.

Kawhi left the Spurs one season removed from those two 60-plus win seasons in San Antonio and left the Raptors after taking them to the Promised Land. The fact of the matter is Kawhi's uncle always wanted him in Los Angeles for maximum exposure and maximum opportunities to advance in other avenues like endorsements and commercial opportunities.

I still feel like Kawhi has a competitive edge to him that's seeking more rings because he's shown that killer instinct in the past and seems robotically programmed to win. For that reason, I could see him putting up a fight against his uncle to decide where he ends up next.

Next. Pass or pursue 10 role player free agents. dark

Still, it feels like Kawhi's goal (or maybe moreso his uncle's) has been to play under the bright Hollywood lights of L.A. If he actually listens to himself, which I feel like would be a first in his NBA career, Leonard will likely leave once again for a team with a better chance at a title. Will he actually decide for himself, though? Something tells me that's unlikely.

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