LOS ANGELES (CBS Sports) – After a frustrating season, Kawhi Leonard has reportedly had enough of the San Antonio Spurs.
But the Spurs aren’t giving up on their superstar just yet. According to a report from Yahoo’s Shams Charania, and confirmed by TNT’s David Aldridge, coach Gregg Popovich made his way to California to meet with the disgruntled Leonard ahead of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Per a report from Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News, it was a “good” meeting. USA Today’s Sam Amick added that the meeting had been scheduled for a few weeks and wasn’t a direct response to Leonard’s reported trade wish.
News broke last week that Leonard wants to be traded from the Spurs, and that has sprung an entire industry of reports and projected deals. According to some reports he wants to play in Los Angeles, preferably for the Lakers, and feels a sense of betrayal by the Spurs over the handling of his quadriceps injury.
According to a recent report from Adrian Wojnarowski, however, the Spurs are unlikely to move Leonard to the Lakers. Wojnarowski added that Leonard would tell other teams he would not sign an extension next summer if they traded for him.
Even despite Leonard’s reported feelings, it appears Popovich is still trying to repair the relationship, which fractured at some point during last season. The Spurs don’t have to trade Leonard, and their ability to offer a five-year, $219 million super-max extension is enticing. Even if Leonard reportedly doesn’t care about the extra money, it’s harder to say that if the money is put in front of you.
There still seems to be plenty to sort out here, and without being privy to the conversation between these two, it’s really impossible to know exactly where the situation stands. Leonard definitely seems frustrated, but Popovich must have at least some hope he can still fix things. And given his track record over the past few decades, it may be wise to give him a chance.
Regardless, it will be fascinating to see what happens with Leonard this summer.