Negotiations on an extension between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs have met an end with no deal, agent Brian Elfus tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The news is no surprise, since Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reported Wednesday that a deal was unlikely before today’s 11:00pm Central deadline. Leonard is set to hit restricted free agency next summer.
“We feel Kawhi is deserving of a max contract, and we are disappointed that something couldn’t get done,” Elfus said to Wojnarowski. “There’s no debating Kawhi’s value. The market has been set. He’s done everything the Spurs have asked of him, exceeded all of their expectations. Coach [Gregg] Popovich has gone out of his way to call Kawhi the future face of the franchise. We have great respect for the Spurs organization, but here, we simply agree to disagree. There will be no shortage of teams interested in Kawhi’s services next year. There will be a lot of contract scenarios available to us, and we will explore them all.”
Wojnarowski wrote earlier this week that Leonard had been pushing for the max, adding that there had been no progress in discussions with the team even as Elfus and the Spurs spoke several times over the last few weeks. Elfus had been in San Antonio this week to discuss the matter in person, but the Spurs prefer to maintain financial flexibility heading into next summer, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote earlier. Curiosity about next summer’s free agents and the question of whether Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will retire after the season have led to San Antonio’s desire to hold off on a commitment to Leonard for now, Wojnarowski hears.
Still, Wojnarowski reiterates his earlier report that the Spurs would be expected to match any offer for the 2014 Finals MVP next summer, and the Yahoo! scribe suggests that the Spurs would be more amenable to the max at that point. Several league executives have told Wojnarowski that Leonard will command max offer sheets, but even if he were to sign one, it might turn out to be a money-saving proposition for San Antonio. Leonard can sign a five-year deal with 7.5% raises if he does so directly with the Spurs, but his offer sheets would be limited to no more than four years and 4.5% raises.