Atlantic Notes: Kawhi, Fultz, Celtics, Nets

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich raised some eyebrows on Saturday when he said that Kawhi Leonard wasn’t a “leader” in San Antonio, with veterans like Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills assuming that role instead. While Popovich acknowledged that Leonard was a great player, he suggested that “leadership wasn’t his deal at the time.”

Responding to those comments on Sunday night, Leonard pushed back, telling reporters – including Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter links) – that he leads by example with the Raptors, as he did for the Spurs.

“It’s just funny to me,” Leonard said of Popovich’s comments. “I don’t know if he’s talking about last year or not. I guess when you stop playing they forget how you lead… It doesn’t matter. I’m here with the Raptors and I’m focused on the season and not what’s going on on the other side.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Sixers won’t be providing an update on Markelle Fultz today, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Keith Pompey of (Twitter links). As Woj and Pompey explain, Fultz is now scheduled to see multiple specialists this week in New York, so there likely won’t be any decisions made on his next steps until the latter part of the week.
  • Within an in-depth piece on the Celtics‘ struggles, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes, “Most executives expect the trade winds to stay quiet, and there are few players who would realistically be available who would be upgrades for Boston.” President of basketball operations Danny Ainge has essentially said as much publicly, as we detailed earlier today.
  • With Caris LeVert sidelined indefinitely, Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell have been developing chemistry together as the Nets‘ lead guards, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. LeVert remains perhaps the most important long-term piece in Brooklyn’s backcourt, but the knowledge that Dinwiddie and Russell can succeed together would give the team more options next summer, when both players will become free agents.
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