During the 2018 NBA offseason, the San Antonio Spurs became the center of controversy when Kawhi Leonard expressed his frustration with how the team handled his injury, especially when they urged him to play in the Western Conference Playoffs despite having a feeling of discomfort. Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich did his best to fix their relationship with Leonard, but the disgruntled superstar was really determined to leave.
The Spurs ended up trading Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 first-round pick. Despite acquiring another superstar in return, the departure of Leonard has undeniably affected the Spurs’ chance of fully dominating the deep Western Conference. While Leonard and the Raptors continue to rise to the top of the Eastern Conference, the Spurs are on the verge of missing the Western Conference Playoffs for the first time since 1997.
As of now, the Spurs must be regretting the way they treated Kawhi Leonard last season. On Thursday night, Leonard is set to return to the AT&T Center for the first time since the blockbuster trade. Before their game against the Raptors, Coach Gregg Popovich said that all they need to do right now is to move on and stop talking about what happened between the Leonard and the Spurs in the past.
“You move on in life,” Popovich said, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN.
“We’re not going to redo what’s happened in the past in any way, shape or form. It’s of no consequence at this point, and it does no good to go backward and talk about this, that or the other. One of the reasons is you guys will interpret it whatever way you want anyway. So it doesn’t matter what we say. You’re gonna say whatever you want. It’s a waste of our time. “
— News 4 San Antonio (@News4SA) January 2, 2019
Coach Gregg Popovich can’t promise that Kawhi Leonard won’t be booed by Spurs fans in their upcoming games, but he is hoping that people will show some kindness and respect to the man who helped them win an NBA championship title in 2014. Despite what happened last summer, Popovich still described Leonard as a great teammate and a great friend.
As ESPN noted, the Spurs have made multiple video tributes for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to celebrate and thank them for the things they have done to the organization. However, the Spurs are considering the possibility that they won’t be playing any of the videos if they receive an overly negative reaction from their fans at the AT&T Center.