Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Kawhi Leonard met Tuesday

Arnold Nichols
June 20, 2018

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich traveled Tuesday to Southern California and met with Kawhi Leonard prior to Thursday's National Basketball Association draft, league sources told ESPN.

Sources told the website that Popovich traveled to Southern California and met with Leonard before Thursday's National Basketball Association draft.

Leonard had told confidants that he did not want to sit down with Popovich and has been purposely hard for the Spurs to reach recently. According to ESPN, Leonard is upset with the Spurs' handling of his quad injury and the lack of support he received from the team - namely Tony Parker and Popovich - while he was sidelined last season.

This comes on the heels of Leonard reportedly asking for a trade - preferably to somewhere in Los Angeles - out of San Antonio. Despite the meeting, Leonard has privately said he no longer wants to play with San Antonio, but it's unlikely the team would be motivated to work out a deal with the Lakers, the sources said. League sources say Leonard has been unhappy with how the team handled his injury.


Though the Spurs reportedly wouldn't be motivated to trade Leonard to the Lakers, Leonard's demands and intentions may make it hard for the Spurs.

Leonard, a two-time first-team All-NBA player, can become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. The Spurs don't have to trade Leonard, and their ability to offer a five-year, $219 million super-max extension is enticing.

If Leonard affirmed his desire to leave the Spurs, it's possible the front office could begin seriously engaging with other teams in trade talks, with the hopes of netting a deal they like on draft night.

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