Tuesday afternoon, Gregg Popovich flew to San Diego for a last-pitch effort in convincing Kawhi Leonard to stay with the San Antonio Spurs. Well, the meeting was reportedly done professionally and confidentially, including family members present, according to Yahoo Sports.
However, the situation is beyond repair now, as Kawhi is reportedly seeking a direct trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. Leonard even went as far as to say, allegedly, that he plans on telling teams that try and trade for him this off-season, that he’ll still go home to Los Angeles next summer when he’s an unrestricted free agent. San Antonio had plans of sending him to an Eastern Conference franchise, as they wouldn’t feel comfortable helping a team out a west.
Danny Ainge was one of the main suitors looking to strike big this month, previously inquiring about sending them Boston Celtics superstar, Kyrie Irving. However, with Leonard being very vocal about his desire to play for purple-and-gold, many teams could be concerned about trading away valuable assets for a one-year rental. Leonard, who’s still due $20 million this season, is looking to opt-out and restructure a long-term deal with the Lakers next summer.
Considering the Spurs have very little leverage in dealing away Kawhi, who seems to already have his plans ready; they could likely receive a package of Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle. This obviously wasn’t in San Antonio’s free agency plans; but throwing a star player under the bus after seeking a second opinion on an injury, is something the Leonard family can’t forgive.
Shockingly, Kawhi blames Gregg Popovich for allowing his injury issues to become public. Nothing from the organization goes to the media and press without his consent.
This essentially ends the rumor the Phoenix Suns trading away their no. 1 pick on draft for Leonard, which was one of the more questionable ideas we’ve seen for a team this off-season.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Kawhi possibly pairing up with LeBron James and others.
Spurs' Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich met on Tuesday in San Diego, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 20, 2018
Kawhi Leonard will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intentions are to sign in Los Angeles, preferably with the Lakers, in 2019 free agency. (via @wojespn & @ramonashelburne)
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 20, 2018