Kawhi Leonard’s mysterious falling out with the Spurs keeps getting weirder. It remains unknown why Leonard, who was coming off two consecutive All-NBA First Team selections, seemingly quit on the Spurs last season after suffering a quad injury. Leonard only appeared in nine games and spent most of his time rehabbing away from the squad in New York.
At the time, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who’s won five championships, told reporters all questions about Leonard’s health situation should be “redirected towards his group.” That might be because the Spurs had no idea about Leonard’s status. On Tom Haberstroh’s “Back to Back” podcast, ESPN Spurs reporter Mike Wright said the All-Star forward hid from the Spurs representatives when they visited him in Manhattan last season.
“I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m gonna say it because Kawhi is about to be outta there,” Wright said, per Deadspin’s transcription. “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. As soon as those guys arrived to the building, Kawhi’s people grabbed him and sequestered him to another part of the building. And so the Spurs’ people couldn’t even see him.”
There are lots of uncertainties with Leonard, beginning with the fact he seems intent on testing the free agent market next summer. Any team that acquires Leonard is faced the possibility he’ll only be around for one season, which is precisely why the Celtics are right to reportedly keep their five best players –– Irving, Tatum, Hayward, Brown, Horford –– off the table in any Leonard trade talks. He’s a luxury for the Celtics. They should only bring him aboard if the Spurs meet their price.
On top of that, there remains the question as to why Leonard appeared to give up on the Spurs organization. His apparent inability to mesh with Popovich, one of the best coaches in league history, should be concerning to any organization. Brad Stevens is a great coach, but if Leonard couldn’t respect Popovich, why he would he respect Stevens?
With LeBron James decisively signing with the Lakers, it looks like the Leonard saga will take over as this summer’s NBA melodrama. For now, the Celtics would be wise to steer clear.
Full article @ Kawhi Leonard reportedly ‘hid’ from Spurs last season, making him an even less attractive risk for Celtics
Source: GreenStreet Blog