Earlier this month, it was reported that the All-Star forward was seeking to leave San Antonio with the intention of playing in Los Angeles. Leonard reportedly requested a trade following several disputes involving a quad injury that limited him to only nine games last season. ESPN reported:
Among the issues, Leonard is angry over what he believes was the Spurs' mishandling of his quad injury, and he remains irate with public comments from teammate Tony Parker and [head coach Gregg] Popovich that he felt were not supportive of him, league sources said.
Earlier this week, Popovich met with Leonard in Southern California in an apparent attempt to convince the 26-year-old forward to stay. GM Buford did not confirm whether Leonard formally asked the Spurs to be traded; however, sources said the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is still frustrated with the team.
“Kawhi and his family mean a lot to our organization and to the community,” Buford said after the NBA draft Thursday night. “And while none of us would wish we are where we are, we're going to do what we can to build the best relationship we can with him, and we'll explore all of our options. But the first one would be to do what we can to keep Kawhi as a part of our group.
“I don't know that timing's a factor in this,” Buford continued. “He's under contract for another year. Our goal is to keep him as a part of our program for a long time.”
Furthermore, the Spurs also have the ability to offer Leonard a supermax contract worth $219 million over five years. Stay tuned as the story unfolds.