The Spurs Are Reportedly Concerned Kawhi Leonard Wants a Trade to One of These 4 Teams
Here are the four teams the Spurs are concerned about.
Whether Kawhi Leonard will stay with the San Antonio Spurs or join a new team will be one of the biggest stories of the coming NBA offseason. Leonard's long-standing hip injury, which forced him to the sidelines this season, strained his relationship with the team, and some pundits think his time with the Spurs will come to an end soon.
He played in only nine games, but reports indicated the team's medical staff cleared him to play and he chose to sit out. Leonard did not attend the Spurs' playoff games against the Golden State Warriors (GSW won, 4-1, to advance to the second round), instead electing to work with his own medical staff in New York.
Was Kawhi legitimately discontent with the team? Or was he just taking his time to recover from an injury, wary of the opinion of doctors whom the team employs? We still don't know.
What we do know, however, is that Kawhi only has one year left on his contract, and it seems very possible the Spurs could deal him this summer. A new report from ESPN indicates the team is concerned the young star wants a trade to a major market.
"Multiple league sources also told ESPN that the Spurs have grown worried that Leonard’s group has an ulterior motive to fray the relationship and get Leonard traded to a larger market like Los Angeles (Leonard’s hometown) or New York or Philadelphia (Robertson lives in New Jersey)," write Ramona Shelburne and Michael Wright in an in-depth piece about Kawhi's future.
That list, of course, includes four teams directly tied to the cities: the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and 76ers. Depending on your interpretation of the geography, you could also probably add the Brooklyn Nets to that list.
This report echoes much of what we've heard before—the team and player do not agree about his injury and when he should return to the court. They also report that Leonard's agent Mitch Frankel, and his uncle, Dennis Robertson, have been the ones communicating with the Spurs. They also reportedly influenced his decision to work with his own doctors in New York.
The report states that Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is "constantly losing sleep over how and why the relationship with Leonard has disintegrated."
Check out the full report here.