Kawhi Leonard’s Uncle Discusses Spurs, Raptors, Free Agency

The uncle of Raptors star Kawhi Leonard discussed a variety of topics with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes on Sunday, including why Leonard requested a trade from San Antonio, his success with Toronto this season and his upcoming free agency period.

Dennis Robertson, widely known as “Uncle Dennis” to many NBA figures, played a key role in getting Leonard out of San Antonio after his relationship with the team started to deteriorate.

Leonard dealt with a significant quad injury last season, missing several games and looking elsewhere for a second opinion despite being cleared by the Spurs‘ medical staff. This decision quickly caused a rift in the organization.

“I think it just became a lack of trust,” Robertson told Haynes. “They didn’t believe Kawhi couldn’t play and that caused a lack of trust in us and then us not believing in them. Any time a player says he’s not capable of playing, you should believe him. Why would Kawhi just stop playing all of a sudden? He’s a competitor. Sometimes you get these team doctors telling you what you can and cannot do, and Kawhi was just in too much pain to get out there. This was a serious issue. They didn’t believe him, and after that, the relationship couldn’t recover and we decided we had to move on.”

Robertson led the way for Leonard and the group requested a trade from San Antonio, listing Los Angeles as a preferred long-term destination. The Spurs wound up shipping him to the Raptors in a larger trade that featured DeMar DeRozan last July.

Leonard has since dominated with the Raptors, leading his team to the NBA Finals while averaging 31.2 points in 18 playoff games. Getting traded to Toronto might’ve been a tough pill to swallow at first glance, but Leonard has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the franchise this season, as Robertson explained.

“When you are initially traded somewhere you didn’t asked to be, you don’t want to accept it,” Robertson said, according to Haynes. “But once you get through that period, the focus then turns to giving your all and performing at a high level. It never had anything to do with the city of Toronto. It wasn’t. Toronto is a beautiful city. Kawhi has often spoke highly of Toronto. It’s a beautiful place. That was just an initial reaction, which is normal. But we’re enjoying this run and looking forward to the Finals.”

For the Raptors, Leonard is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on June 30. The team acquired him with full intentions of re-signing him to a lucrative contract in free agency, though for the time being, his focus only lies on competing in the NBA Finals.

“I can’t get into other free agents and other teams, but for Kawhi, he’s going to take it one day and one game at a time,” Robertson said. “We have a championship opportunity in front of us. We’re not thinking about free agency; it’s the Warriors [right now]. Once we get through the season, we’ll turn our attention to free agency. But we’re just having fun right now. This has been a great year.”

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42 thoughts on “Kawhi Leonard’s Uncle Discusses Spurs, Raptors, Free Agency

  1. jorge78

    The man is a cancer. Let him go! Anyone who can’t get on board with Pop’s team concept is a loser!

    • Dennid

      You are referring to the cancer in the finals? On a team that in previous years could not make it past the first or second round….

    • Spurs fans just can’t get over the fact that not everyone loves Pop and wants to do things their way

    • Dodgethis

      Enough with the popovich worship. He’s a good coach, but he’s lost his edge. His confrontations are forced and not genuine.

    • johnstodder

      It sounds like his problem wasn’t with Pop but with mistrust of the Spurs’ medical staff.

  2. bowserhound

    Just look at him during TV interviews, he’s mentally unstable. That’s why his uncle is his ‘spokesman’, and he’s probably going west. He’s going to get paid for his short stint in the top shelf of the NBA.

  3. Chris

    Man it’s gonna be pretty wild if he leaves. If the Raptors can’t pull it off, is a finals appearance worth it? I think so

  4. Guest617

    kwahi’s newly purchased 12M house is clearly a sign to where things are going

    • Gary

      That’s clearly not. His house is in San Diego 120 miles from Staples. He’s going to commute everyday to work? Drive 120 miles one way for a 2-hour practice on off days?

      All guys have summer Homes, Winter homes, extra houses. That is not an indicator.

      Steve Kerr lives in Rancho Santa Fe as well. Does that mean he’s coaching the Lakers next year? No.

      But I do think he’s gone and leaving Toronto. Probably the Clippers or Lakers. But not because he has a house in California.

  5. imindless

    Which means kawhi is basically gone. He will lose in finals and dip back home he has no soul or emotions towards what he has done in toronto.

  6. x%sure

    Uncle Dennis would seem to have delivered bad news between the lines. Was it intentional? Was there a plan? Maybe to tell the other Raptors, don’t hold back. Or Kawhi wants to manage the blowback by limiting adulation.

  7. Danthemilwfan

    He just at times single handed Beat the best team in the league and got into the finals. To me he earned all my respect for not only being better then I thought he was but for not being the whiner I assumed he was based on how his exit from San Antonio went

  8. Yep it is

    I can tell you right now he want suit up for BRON BRON and his Circus and the Lakers Buss Of Crap

  9. Spike4christ

    Pop is not all they say he is. Duncan, Ginobili and Duncan would have been class on any team. Avery’s Johnson led some of those teams as well. David Robinson is more man than Pop will be In his Dreams. I am tired of the Pop worship. We shall see if can beat Spain and Canada.

  10. formerlyz

    This guy is full of sh!+. He was trying to get Kawhi to NY for a couple of years. As I’ve said, it’s been a thing for a while that he was in his ear, and handled all of his stuff for him. Kawhi isnt the type of guy to make waves. That’s why I dont think he was thinking for himself, but as I said yesterday, what ended up happening is on him at the end of the day. It should be interesting to see what happens. Like I said, now he has a whole country behind him. Hard to leave that

  11. There is some serious imagine cleaning/spin going on here. I’m sure the Spurs had their role in how things ended, but Kawhi’s camp really did some b-made stuff to the team and city last year. That shouldn’t be forgotten here, especially when he bolts again this summer and true colors are revealed.

  12. hoosierhysteria

    The spurs blew that issue with KL. Pop didn’t have his back, in fact he stabbed him in the back using other players and the media. Have fun with derozan and that awful contract. Uncle Dennis should be told to STF up. Leonard goes to clippers. Who can blame him for going home? He will leave 80m on the table but ballmer will make it up over time.

  13. Spike4christ

    Nobody thought George would stay one OKC. Toronto has Money! If he wins against GSW. He will be Huge there. He will have Endorsements galore.

    • Strike Four

      If you think the Warriors aren’t sweeping the cRaptors, you are lying to yourself.

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