The relationship between the San Antonio Spurs and their injured star forward Kawhi Leonard has gotten complicated. According to ESPN, the two parties are at odds with Leonard’s quadriceps injury treatment, timetable for his return, and rehabilitation.
Spurs general manager RC Buford denies this.
“There is no issue between the Spurs organization and Kawhi,” said Buford. “From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury.”
“This has been difficult for everyone. It’s been difficult for Kawhi. He’s an elite-level player. It’s been difficult for the team, because they want to play with a great teammate. And it’s been difficult for our staff. Historically we’ve been able to successfully manage injuries. This rehab hasn’t been simple, and it hasn’t gone in a linear fashion.”
Even Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich shrugged off the idea that the team is embroiled in a “soap opera”.
Buford may have a reason to lie since he’s part of Spurs management. But Popovich? He once admitted he over-coached Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge; he’s as honest as they come.
Despite this, sports analyst Jalen Rose goes so far as saying Kawhi Leonard “wants out”.
Kawhi Leonard isn’t the type to cause any drama so forgive our skepticism regarding this.
That said, the conflict raises concerns about Leonard’s contract. Even if Kawhi doesn’t play another game this season, he’ll be eligible to sign a five-year $219 million deal next year. Considering what’s happening now, will the Spurs will sign it?
If they don’t, Kawhi will become a free agent next year.