Asked on Thursday night about the Kawhi Leonard situation, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford admitted that the relationship between the team and its star player needs work, but said San Antonio’s preferred outcome would be to keep Leonard on its roster going forward, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.
“Kawhi and his family mean a lot to our organization and to our community,” Buford said. “While none of us would wish we are where we are, we are going to do what we can to build the best relationship we can with him. We will explore all of our options, but the first one would be to keep Kawhi as part of our group.”
After being at odds with the Spurs during the 2017/18 season over the treatment of Leonard’s quadriceps injury, his camp informed the media last week that the star forward would like to be traded, preferably to the Lakers. However, the Spurs hadn’t yet had a face-to-face meeting with Leonard to discuss the situation at that point.
Leonard reportedly met with head coach Gregg Popovich in San Diego within the last few days, and while it’s not clear whether any progress was made during that sit-down, the Spurs still sound like they’ll do all they can to mend fences. Asked about a potential timeline for resolution on the situation, Buford didn’t offer any specifics.
“I don’t know that timing is a factor in this,” Buford said, per McDonald. “[Leonard] is under contract for another year. Our goal is to keep him as part of our program for a long time.”
The Spurs have reportedly been listening to other teams’ inquiries on – and offers for – Leonard, but haven’t been making calls themselves and aren’t actively trying to move the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.