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.