The Kawhi Leonard saga took some twists and turns during the season. Right now, it has spiraled into the Spurs likely having to trade their star forward.
Through the reports and whispers that have come out from both sides, it is pretty clear there was a major disconnect between Leonard and the San Antonio organization. If that relationship can’t be repaired–and it doesn’t look great right now–Leonard will probably be dealt.
Maybe the most prime example of the discord between player/franchise came in March. Leonard told reporters he wanted to come back soon in early March, and then on March 10, a report emerged that he was eyeing a return against the New Orleans Pelicans on March 15.
That never happened, and it led to the Spurs having a players-only meaning and Leonard getting called out by Manu Ginobili. He never played again.
On the latest episode of Back to Back The Podcast, ESPN’s Michael C. Wright broke down what he says happened during that entire sequence of events. Apparently, Leonard had been saying to the Spurs he was going to return, but ultimately didn’t.
“A week before that, Kawhi told those guys he was going to be back for that game.”
“And that didn’t happen. And that was the second or third time they had been told something like that and then it didn’t happen. So, they were frustrated.”
“Kawhi and his people were saying Kawhi is going to be back for this game. That doesn’t happen. He’ll be back for this game. And he’s telling the players, he’s telling R.C. and Pop this is when he’s going to be back. And every time, it was just sort of, ah, nope, pump fake that. And that’s what was happening, so they were getting frustrated about, too.”
“And that’s why you have the team meeting where they want to know like, “Hey dude. You said you were coming back this time. You said you were coming back this time. When are you coming back?” That’s what that was about.”
If this is actually how everything went down, it explains the estrangement between Leonard and his team. Is this something that can be overcome?
Right now it isn’t looking great.