When Kawhi Leonard suffered an injury, the drama started to circulate around the San Antonio Spurs. Various NBA trade rumors and speculations suggested that Leonard is no longer happy with the Spurs and expected to demand a trade this offseason. Despite the rumors about his potential departure and frustration with the team, the Spurs never lose hope and remain optimistic that they could rekindle their relationship with Leonard.
Earlier this month, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (h/t Rob Lopez of Def Pen Sports) revealed that Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard will be having a meeting on or before the 2018 NBA Draft. Their much-awaited conversation is expected to be focused on addressing the issue and offering Leonard a massive contract extension. If Popovich fails to solve the problem with their disgruntled superstar, it is highly likely that the Spurs will make Leonard available on the trade market this offseason to avoid losing him in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
On Twitter, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders recently shared some update between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs. Someone close to Leonard’s situation reportedly told him that the 26-year-old small forward is expected to sign the extension with the Spurs this summer.
“I had dinner with someone close to Kawhi last week – word is he is completely fine with the situation, expects to sit with the Spurs and hammer out an extension. There are clearly things to talk about, but his side isn’t looking for the door.”
This is undeniably a good news for the Spurs. The return of Kawhi Leonard will push them to continue building a title-contending team instead of undergoing a full-scale rebuild. The presence of Leonard will not only make them a significant team once again in the Western Conference, but it could also help them in their potential recruitment of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in the upcoming free agency.
Aside from his meeting with Leonard, Marc Stein of New York Times revealed that Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich is planning to “force his way” into a meeting with James in July. James will surely love the idea of playing alongside Leonard, who is a known “LeBron Stopper,” and being mentored by one of the best coaches in NBA history. However, bringing James to San Antonio won’t be as simple as anyone thinks. The Spurs will be needing to make multiple roster moves in order to create enough salary cap space to give James a maximum contract.