At this time a year ago, Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard was getting MVP buzz en route to his second All-Star appearance and an All-NBA first team selection – but Leonard has played in just nine games this year in what has become a lost season for the 26-year-old.
Leonard is out indefinitely with a quadriceps injury, and according to a report from ESPN, his treatment and ongoing rehabilitation of his injury has created a rift between Leonard and the Spurs.
"Multiple sources describe Leonard and his camp as ‘distant’ and ‘disconnected’ from the organization."
Following the ESPN report, Jalen Rose said on First Take that Leonard wants to leave San Antonio.
"The reason why is tenfold. One is they’ve been unable to attract elite-level, All-NBA caliber free agents to come play with him.
…. Here’s why, I think, players have not done that. The ‘Spurs’ way’ looks like opportunity dressed in overalls. It looks like work, and people really don’t want that. Players talk about wanting to win and wanting to be a champion, but ultimately they want to do it on their own terms. And when you go to San Antonio, guess who is the CEO of that organization? Gregg Popovich. It’s going to be his way.
And also the way his injury situation was handled. You see him in the lineup, you see him out of the lineup. Is it his quad? What’s going on with his history? Was he misdiagnosed?
Will we look back on at this situation with his injury kind of like we’re doing with the Boston Celtics? Remember, the Celtics fired their entire staff as it related to how Isaiah Thomas’ injury was being handled because his hip was misdiagnosed."