Rumors are coming out that the relationship between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs is becoming even worse after holding a players-only meeting where the team’s players allegedly pressured the two-time NBA All-Star to return to the court. However, SB Nation‘s Pounding The Rock reported that the speculations were false and the franchise is actually planning to give Leonard a “super-max” contract extension this summer.
ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Spurs recently conducted a players-only meeting to “implore” Leonard to come back this season. The former NBA Finals MVP has only played nine games this season due to a nagging quadriceps injury.
While he has reportedly been medically cleared for quite some time now, Leonard still chooses to sit out for unclear reasons. This dynamic has been the root of various rumors claiming that the player wants out of San Antonio or the Spurs are planning to trade him at the end of the season.
Leonard has since been linked to several teams, namely the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Wojnarowski, the meeting was “tense and emotional at times” as some of Leonard’s teammates expressed “frustration and confusion” on why he still does not want to play even when he is already ruled out as fit. The reporter said that “players’ voices could be heard through the door” outside the meeting room, which implies heated exchanges between the participants.
Meanwhile, Pounding The Rock said the Spurs are insisting that “there is no friction between the parties” with some of the team’s players posting on social media how “incorrect” the reports were.
The blog went on to say that the Spurs are actually intending to give Leonard a “super-max” extension at the end of this season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. It also noted that “there’s no reason” why the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year will reject the offer as he cannot get a larger deal outside his current ballclub should he decide to enter free agency.
The Spurs are bouncing back with five straight wins after their 98-90 win over the Washington Wizards at home on Wednesday night. They are currently sixth in the West with only 10 games left in their regular season campaign.