Latest On Kawhi Leonard

The long-anticipated offseason meeting between Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and star forward Kawhi Leonard figures to happen sooner rather than later, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

As Wojnarowski outlines, the two men may actually have a series of conversations as they determine whether “a lasting trust and partnership can be rebuilt.” They’ll also discuss Leonard’s medical care and treatment going forward, his relationships with teammates and the coaching staff, and – of course – a possible contract extension.

While Leonard will be eligible for a super-max extension this offseason, that eligibility wouldn’t necessarily carry over to the 2019 offseason unless he once again earns an All-NBA spot – or wins the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year award – in 2018/19. That’s one reason why those extension talks will be so important, and why the Spurs not putting an offer on the table could theoretically prompt Leonard’s camp to push for a trade.

Here’s more on Leonard:

  • The Celtics made a trade offer for Leonard prior to the February trade deadline, but the Spurs turned it down and didn’t make a counter-offer, league sources tell Wojnarowski. So far, San Antonio’s unwillingness to discuss trades involving the club’s standout forward has carried over to the offseason.
  • If the Spurs do become open to making a deal, expect the Lakers and the Sixers to be among the teams expressing interest, says Wojnarowski. The Celtics may be a less likely suitor at this point, given the strides their young core made during the 2017/18 season — and postseason.
  • Popovich wants to coach Leonard for the rest of his Spurs tenure, but the question of how much longer the veteran coach plans to stick around could be a factor in Kawhi’s decision on a long-term extension. According to Wojnarowski, few in Popovich’s “orbit” expect him to continue coaching the Spurs beyond the 2020 Summer Olympics.
  • In a separate report for ESPN.com, Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright provide details on a story related to Leonard, writing that his former agent – Brian Elfus – is suing Impact Sports for allegedly withholding commissions on multiple contracts, including Leonard’s current deal. Elfus claims he’s owed up to $5MM in damages.
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13 thoughts on “Latest On Kawhi Leonard

  1. Jeff Zanghi

    Wait… “The Celtics made an offer at the trade deadline…” that seems like a rather large story to have just casually brushed over as if only a footnote!?

    Are there any further details about that offer? Who was offered by the C’s, etc. It seems like that would have required a pretty significant roster overhaul mid-season for a team that was one game away from the Finals. Both $ wise, and also asset wise – in terms of who Boston was willing to ship out mid-season. Based on aligning the $, does this imply that the Celtics were offering Al Horford in the deal, otherwise I’m not sure how else they could have made the $ work.

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    • Luke Adams

      Leonard was only making about $18.9MM this season, so the Celtics could have put together a package without any highly-paid players (Morris + Brown + Baynes would’ve worked, for instance). Woj didn’t provide any more details on the offer, but I got the sense it wasn’t strong enough that the Spurs would have seriously considered it.

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  2. todd-3

    Rumor has it, it was a low ball offer to see if spurs wanted to dump Leonard or not.

    My guess, if the spurs put him on the market now, Ainge will have to up his offer. No other team has the assets the Celtics have if they want him.

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  3. Reflect

    If a team acquires Leonard do they then have the rights to a super extension thing? Or is it like Bird rights where they disappear if traded?

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    • Luke Adams

      Bird rights actually stay with a player when he’s traded, but a player is only eligible for the Designated Veteran Extension (early 35% max) with his current team, so guys like Cousins and Butler no longer qualified after they were dealt.

      Leonard could eventually get a 35% max from any team once he has 10 years of NBA experience, but that’s still three years away.

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    • Luke Adams

      Will address this in my Spurs offseason preview, which should go up in about 30 mins or so.

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  4. I’ve got the feeling that whatever happens with him staying/going of San Antonio we have already seen the best of him, maybe a D-Rose 2.0?

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  5. If this story/report is true, then we should whomever for the candid transparency present here.
    Not all players/teams work this way
    Nice to see this offered publicly

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