The writing is on the wall for Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs. After a bizarre season that saw their relationship deteriorate over Leonard’s recovery process from a quad injury, it looks like it’ll only be a matter of time before player and team finally split.
Things got so bad at a point this season that when the Spurs tried to check up on Leonard’s rehab in New York, he was actually physically hidden from team representatives. Eventually, the Spurs contingent just had to go home without even being able to see their star, reported ESPN’s Michael Wright on the Back to Back podcast.
“Some of the things that were happening was crazy, and I probably shouldn’t say this right now, but I’m going to say it because Kawhi is about to be out of there. 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, so the Spurs people couldn’t even see him.” —Michael Wright, ESPN
It’s one thing for a player to decide to force his way out of an unhappy team situation, but to deny contact with team representatives while still under contract? That’s a twist on the whole player autonomy angle that doesn’t reflect quite as well on Leonard here.
After all of this time of operating as a low-profile franchise, the Spurs find themselves caught under an uncomfortable spotlight now. Earlier this week, it was reported that “the last straw” for Leonard was when Tony Parker, who suffered a similar injury but returned to the court in late November, criticized his teammate to the media.
h/t Back to Back