Kawhi Leonard, Popovich Meet In San Diego

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard met with head coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday in San Diego, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports.

The meeting was conducted professionally and confidentially, according to Charania, but there’s no indication that Leonard has softened his stance on being traded. Leonard’s desire to be moved, with Los Angeles being his preferred destination, was revealed last week.

Today’s meeting had been scheduled for weeks and was not a response to Leonard’s trade request, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

There has been steady communication between the Spurs’ front office and Leonard’s representatives, Charania adds. If Leonard is willing to stay put and sign a max extension with the Spurs, that could alter plans for several teams who have been angling to put together a package deal for him.

However, according to Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com, Leonard has privately maintained that he no longer wants to play for the Spurs, and intends to eventually let suitors know that his intention is to sign in L.A. – preferably with the Lakers – when he reaches free agency in 2019.

The Spurs likely won’t be eager to facilitate a trade to the Lakers for Leonard, who remains upset over the team’s handling of his quad injury, as well as public comments from Popovich and teammate Tony Parker about the situation, per Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

While San Antonio has encouraged teams calling about Leonard to make offers if they so choose, the club has been “largely reluctant” to provide guidance on what sort of package it’s seeking, league sources tell the ESPN duo. The Spurs’ top priority continues to be talking with Leonard and his camp to work through the issues, according to Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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38 thoughts on “Kawhi Leonard, Popovich Meet In San Diego

  1. padam

    Honestly, if Leonard can’t respect the fact that one of the greatest coaches of all-time flew out to meet him at his location, even after the passing of his wife, then I’m not sure what else Leonard can ask to rectify whatever it was that made him go sideways.

    • x%sure

      Kawhi is def a risk. He’s not helping Popovich either by focussing on LAL, limiting his trade value. This has to be an all-time player f.y’all.
      IDK if even LAC can risk him.

      I will be disappointed if Lebron follows him to LAL. That LAL plan could be a fiasco. It does provide cover for a HOU move… as in, well at least he didn’t do that LA thing with Kawhi & Paul George.
      Let LA have their natives.

  2. padam

    Also, of Popovich is/was out there on Tuesday, he’s looking to get an answer before the draft. This draft could be interesting.

  3. greg1

    Leonard respects it, or he would not have agreed to the meeting.

    While there’s a chance that the meeting leads to more conversations and a resolution a la LMA, i think it’s much more likely that when the commish comes up to announce pick 12, he’ll be saying “there’s been a trade…”

    Kawhi gets back to LA, Clips keep relevant in the market, and Spurs bring back picks and probably Harris to start the post Claw era. Though they take a risk that he leaves at year’s end, there’s extra motivation to bring him in to ensure he doesn’t land with the Lakers. Clips also return to the playoffs with this move.

  4. yaniwox

    I’ve heard plenty of media types in the aftermath of the Kyrie trade say something to the effect of, “You don’t trade a top 5-10 player. They are under contract. They have to play, and you try to work it out until the trade deadline.” Are the Spurs the type of team that actually follows this tactic? If Kawahi can be proven healthy(I don’t know if that’s even a provable fact) and still doesn’t play, he doesn’t get paid, right?

    • DarkGhost

      The problem is like you stated it’s not a provable fact as long as he says he isn’t good and gets a physician to treat him I don’t think there’s a whole lot the spurs can do. With him being in the final year of his contract and if it’s true that he has his sights set on LA there isn’t a lot the spurs can do other than deal him to LA.

      • The Spurs are under no obligation to send him to LA.

        If he’s going to sign there when he’s a FA anyway, great – that’s his desire. All the Spurs need to do is understand they are getting value on Kawhi based on one year of control, rather than a year plus an extension. That’ll be reflected in offers.

        It doesn’t matter where he gets dealt do – it’s the return that the Spurs will care about.

        • DarkGhost

          The spurs don’t have any choice but to deal with the lakers. Kawhi holds all the cards here, all he has to do is tell whatever team is trying to trade for him he refuses to resign after the year is over and the deal is tanked. No team will give up what the spurs will ask for if he won’t resign after this year and if the lakers are the only team that’ll he’ll resign with then the spurs don’t really have an option.

          • x%sure

            That is setting a bad precedent. I didn’t like the Irving trade either, though I suppose I would have if the trade got equal value. That became public later in the offseason with few recourses for the team.
            Kawhi is providing more time but fewer choices. Spurs should not give in to it. Lebron should not join it.

          • padam

            As long as there’s a team looking for a potential one year rental for a top 3-5 player who will need to prove they’re healthy, the Spurs are at the wheel. Someone is going to bite, and the Lakers may bite in order to recruit LBJ.

            • DarkGhost

              The whole point is the the team looking for the rental won’t offer the best value in return. If the spurs really care about getting the best value it will come from the lakers because there the ones that can afford to offer more because he’ll resign.

              • padam

                You don’t get it. If Sacramento wants a year of Leonard, they can do it. If Phoenix wants a year of Leonard, they can do it. If Boston wants to roll the dice, they certainly can. Spurs aren’t held to anything. He could be dealt to the Knicks and say screw it, I can reside in South Orange, NJ and collect those marketing dollars on Madison Avenue.

      • Eric Lord

        The Spurs don’t have to trade Leonard to LA & truthfully, there is almost zero chance that the Spurs trade him to the Lakers. The organization isn’t going to take a bad trade & help the Lakers just because the Leonard wants to go to the Lakers. Other teams who could put together packages could trade for Leonard & try to convince him to re-sign with them. Would Leonard still find the Lakers desirable in 2019 if neither Lebron or Paul George go to the LA? If that happens, maybe playing for the Celtics or Sixers looks better than playing for a not so good Lakers team. I’m not saying that will be the scenario, but it isn’t impossible.

        • DarkGhost

          By telling the world he wants to be in LA and won’t resign anywhere else the no team will give them anything near what they want. If the lakers are the only team he will resign with they’re the team that can and will offer the best deal. Every other team will give the spurs .50 cents on the dollar and the lakers will offer .70 cents on the dollar. If the spurs want the best deal it will come from LA because no other team will unload for Leonard without a guarantee to resign.

          • tboneredskins

            That’s not how teams operate. Also, a trade with the Lakers means a mini-rebuild for the Spurs since they’d have to take back Deng. I just don’t see them doing that. To take on Deng’s contract and give up Leonard it will take Ingram, Kuzma, Ball and picks. Don’t see Lakers giving up all 3 of those young pieces.

            • padam

              Spurs don’t have to take Deng’s contract. LAL had enough cap room for two max contracts.

              • Natergater77

                LAL is hoping to unload Deng in a trade so that after acquiring Kawhi they can still get Lebron and George and then have Leonard’s rights to max him next summer.

                That is why the Spurs have some leverage. Not much but some. Pop can say ok you want to go to LA, I’ll send you to the Clips. They can now offer you the most, I get Dino and pick or 2 and your in LA, Oh and the Lakers won’t have as much to offer you after maxing LBJ and PG13.

                And that’s if Pop decides to be nice. Everyone saying because Kawhi is saying he’ll only sign with LAL means any other team will pay .50 on the $ for him you are right, but Popl can say ok your gonna screw us guess what I’ll send you to Orlando or even Charlotte for the rate. Now your top $ earnings come from a cellar dweller.

                It just amazes me that those singing how savvy and smart Leonard is to make the team up are the same that talk about KD not doing things on his own. How is this any different. Heck SA and OKC are pretty identically ran and both players were seen as the team corner stone.

                The if he goes to LAL and doesn’t win anything he’ll have tarnished his name for nothing. And honestly if the trade happens who will be left to play around those 3. This years Finals showed you can’t just put some ok guys around great players. You have to run deep on your bench

            • DarkGhost

              You’re way over on what it will take to get Lenard look at the packages it took to get PG and Boggie while Lenard is the better player it’s not going to take the entire leakers core and pick to get him especially if he’s going to tell teams I’ll only resign with the lakers. No other team will open up the treasure chest to get him if he won’t stay after the year. So for example when the lakers say we’ll give you two 1st round picks, 2 second round picks, and your choice of Kuzma or Ingram (maybe it takes both but I doubt it) that’s pry going to be the best deal they’ll get offered. Also I keep seeing everybody saying what pop will do guys pop is the GM and he’s never been the GM. Not to say he doesn’t have some sway but the spurs have always made in clear that Buford is the gm and in charge Of constructing the team. If the best offer is coming from the lakers and no one else is very close he would be a fool to turn it down.

          • I give no fox

            Why would the lakers put a respectable offer on the table if kawhi says he is coming in 2019 regardless. If anything, he is hurting his chances of getting traded to his preferred destination. Same thing happened with George last year. He said he wants to go to LA and the lakers didn’t top OKC’s garbage offer (at the time). Yes, oladipo turned a corner but no one saw that coming from a guy on his 3rd franchise in his young career. The lakers could hold all their assets and trade them next year to make salary room for kawhi or keep them if their plans fall flat

            • Z-A

              Gotta trade for him this year. He won’t opt-in next year. But if they sign PG13 and LBJ, they have 0 cap space.

                • Natergater77

                  Thank you Z-A that is what I’ve tried to say. Everyone thinks Leonard saying LAL only means SA has lost control.

                  But they can easily trade him to anyone and leave Kawhi stuck outside as the Lakers won’t have cap space anymore.

      • R3X15

        Well like most contract year athletes they will want to play that final year if they are trying to get a big pay day. If he does stay in SA then he should play. Most teams won’t cough up big contracts and pay days if they don’t know if the player will be healthy enough fulfill the contracts.

  5. Bubba

    Just another reason to stay away from the game. Millionaires having to hear something we in the real world hear daily and can’t handle it. I am going to cry and complain until I get my way. Forget the fans that have followed me and cheered for our team. WhT a JOKE

  6. cesc

    Agree with Greg1 Kawhi will be a Clip next season, I just can see it happening. Anyway if he goes to another team is only a 3/4 of a season rental if he is healthy as in his 7 years in the league he plays about 58 games per season… so I wouldn’t break the bank for a guy who hardly plays & will bolt at season end. Don’t think San Antonio will get much at all, cannot see anything near what Indiana got for PG13.

    • x%sure

      Leonard has people from NJersey, he will be able to live with NY or Philly. I do not believe the 3-stars-to-LAL plan will happen, too many variables, too many people to buy in, too much risk of a fiasco with 3 or 4 star SFs, a slap-together team trying to beat the GSW machine.

      A trade to PHL, Leonard for IDK, there are a number of mixnmatch pieces in PHL, the whole thing could happen, Philly in the finals, Fultz sorted out by Pops, win-win for everyone, plenty of commas, commas for everyone!

      • imindless

        You sounds like your afraid of what will happen when lakers reach dominance again. In addition to that we would have a young core that will grow around the big 3. Lakers beat gsw this year without a star twice. People are scared because its becoming a very real possiblity that lakers upgrade roster without losing anything. Kawai, lebron, george is wayyyy better than harden and paul who also beat the gsw….everyone knows it just dont be suprised when it happens.

  7. Clark K

    Mark my words he’s gonna be on the Celtics by opening day. Boston can put the best package together (by far), he says he wants to go to LA but it’d be pretty hard to leave a team if they make the finals and potentially win it.
    Brown, Rozier, Morris, Baynes, Kings pick for Leonard.
    I don’t see how this doesn’t make sense for both teams, Spurs pick up 2 young assets plus the Kings pick which will be top 5, and Morris. Celtics really aren’t losing out on much outside of Brown, they would have to pay Rozier big money next offseason I believe, and the 2019 pick won’t help them win a ring in the 2018-2019 season.

    A lineup of Irving-Tatum-Leonard-Hayward-Horford would easily be top 2 or 3. 2-5 can guard multiple positions which is a must in the modern NBA.

    • tboneredskins

      I think Celtics want to keep Morris. Might find a different contract to put in. Otherwise I agree with tennis being the best offer Spurs will get.

    • imindless

      Celtics already said they arent trading for him, gotta worry about keeping kyrie after this year. Celtics are a bad franchise for player moral, trade everyone they get and it still doesnt help.

  8. Z-A

    Pop: “Kawhi, thanks for finally meeting with me, I know we’ve both been busy, me grieving for my wife and handling her affairs, what were you doing again?”

  9. x%sure

    I am confident SAS will determine what KL most wants them to do, and make sure that is one thing not done. KL f’d them over. Back atcha.

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