So much has been made of the toxic relationship this past season between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs, but we now have one story really puts in perspective how uninterested Leonard was in speaking to the team’s leadership.
Throughout the 2017-18 season, Leonard’s rehab from a quadriceps injury was shrowded in mystery, to the point that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich really didn’t seem to know when Leonard might be coming back. It was an odd situation given the level of medical resources the Spurs had access to, but, apparently, Leonard wanted no part in working with the Spurs.
ESPN Spurs reporter Michael Wright appeared on a podcast called Back To Back hosted by Tom Haberstroh and recounted a farcical episode of Leonard’s rehab that exemplified where things were with the Spurs.
Kawhi Leonard hid from Spurs personnel
The time Kawhi’s people tried to hide Kawhi from Spurs staffers in NYC
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) July 5, 2018
Here’s a transcript of just went down.
The Spurs were in the dark most of the season. Dude, some of the things that were happening was crazy. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m gonna 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.
According to Wright, the Spurs gave Leonard control of his own rehab process back in Aug. 8, 2017. An ESPN report from Wright and Ramona Shelburne in May also said the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs “hasn’t been nearly as healthy” since Leonard’s uncle Dennis Robertson took over part of his communication with the team.
Where things now stand with Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs
While Leonard’s desired destination is his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, the Spurs don’t seem very eager to help him build a rival super-team with LeBron James. The team is reportedly asking for a massive haul of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and a boatload of draft picks from Los Angeles in return for Leonard, who is a free agent after this season. The Spurs are also reportedly not interested in acquiring Lonzo Ball, which makes the Lakers’ attempts to put together a viable trade package even trickier.
The Spurs reportedly would prefer to keep Leonard or trade him to the East, but the former option is looking increasingly unlikely.
If this report is true, it’s a prime example of just how far Leonard and his staff are willing to go to avoid the Spurs decision-makers, and is obviously foreboding for the Spurs as they continue trade talks that were already quite tricky.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Major League Eating considering electronic counter after hot dog counting gaffe
• Hilarious KFC commercial looks identical to Neymar’s flopping
• Trump sides with Rep. Jim Jordan in OSU wrestling accusations
• Lakers’ strange signings reportedly part of LeBron’s plan