- Sean M. Haffey/Getty
- Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the San Antonio Spurs has baffled the NBA world for close to a year now.
- A new detail from ESPN’s Michael Wright reveals that Leonard went as far as hiding in a different part of the building after team executives traveled to New York to check in on their star player’s recovery.
- Leonard will likely start the 2018 season on a new team as the Spurs face an uncertain future for the first time in recent history.
The fallout between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs has been one of the most compelling, if baffling, subplots of the past NBA year.
While Leonard and the Spurs were far from sharing a sunny relationship all season long, a new detail from ESPN reporter Michael Wright reveals that the distance between the two parties may have been even further than previously expected.
According to Wright, who appeared as a guest on Tom Haberstroh’s “Back to Back” podcast, Leonard went out of his way to avoid meeting with Spurs executives who had flown out to New York to check in on his recovery.
“The Spurs were in the dark most of the season. … I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m gonna say it because Kawhi is about to be outta there. There was a point during his rehab process in New York that some of the Spurs brass went out to see him in New York. As soon as those guys arrived to the building, Kawhi’s people grabbed him and sequestered him to another part of the building, so the Spurs’ people couldn’t even see him.”
You can listen to the clip here.
The time Kawhi’s people tried to hide Kawhi from Spurs staffers in NYC
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) July 5, 2018
Reporting had already suggested that communication between the two sides was strained all season, but the act of flat-out avoiding Spurs executives who had traveled to New York to see Kawhi is a new wrinkle that shows just how wide the gap is between the team and the player. Leonard had reportedly left the team to rehab with his own group in New York City during the season.
Leonard, one of the best players in the league and once thought to be the centerpiece of the next phase of the franchise, played just nine games in the 2017-18 season due to injury and disagreements with team doctors about that injury’s extent. Now, it appears that his relocation in imminent, and for the first time in decades, the Spurs face an uncertain future.