Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, doesn’t intend to pursue offer sheets from other teams, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. San Antonio would have the right to match any offer sheet that the young forward were to sign, provided they tender him a qualifying offer worth $4,433,683, which the franchise is almost assuredly going to do.
Leonard had previously spoken about his free agent plans, saying, “I feel like they like me here and I’m going to come back, but we’ll see. We’re going to see this summer.” The talented forward may require surgery this offseason to repair the torn ligament in his right hand, but that likely won’t have any bearing on his contract negotiations given his youth and skill level.
For his part, Leonard wants to remain with San Antonio, and the Spurs are expected to reach out to the 23-year-old on July 1st with a maximum salary offer, Wojnarowski relays. The franchise resisted offering Leonard a contract extension last offseason, which was by design, so that the Spurs could preserve cap space for this summer, the Yahoo! scribe adds. The Spurs hope to add another star free agent this offseason. LaMarcus Aldridge has already been reported to be a prime target of the organization, should he choose to leave Portland as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Marc Gasol has also been reported as a potential free agent target as well. San Antonio’s offseason strategy still hinges on whether or not Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili return for another run, or one or both call it a career and retire.
The low-key Leonard said he wasn’t perturbed by the team holding off on signing him to an extension. “I don’t think I’m going anywhere,” Leonard said. “I mean they love me here. I like the organization, and if it was up to me, I want to finish out with one team like a lot of great players have done, to stay with one organization their whole career and just be loyal to that. You never know. We’ll see what happens next summer, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be in a Spurs jersey for my whole life.
The 2014/15 Defensive Player of the Year appeared in 64 games this season, averaging 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 31.8 minutes per contest. In his four NBA seasons, the 6’7″ forward out of San Diego State has notched career averages of 12.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.8 APG. Leonard’s career slash line is .496/.368/.802.