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Kawhi, Pop had reportedly met Tuesday


PhilBoxing.com




San Antonio Spurs’ former Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard had reportedly met with coach Gregg Popovich, raising hopes that the problems between them and the team is nearing solution.

The meeting between the two faces of the Spurs’ franchise, held in San Diego on Tuesday, was done professionally and confidentially, according to sources.

Details of the talk weren’t available except that Leonard, sources said, reaffirmed his wish to be freed from the San Antonio organization.

Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported on Friday last week that Leonard wants a trade from the San Antonio Spurs organization.

Leonard’s desire to move out of San Antonio is believed to have stemmed from an overall mistrust of the organization over the course of the season and significant breakdowns on communication.

Leonard, likewise, seems to have a lot of points of contention with the Spurs, and teammate Tony Parker apparently didn’t help matters any.

Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Leonard remains “irate” about the public comments that Parker made about his quad injury.

Leonard allegedly felt that Parker’s remarks were not supportive of him. The report also cites the Spurs’ supposed mishandling of the injury and Popovich’s own comments on the matter as issues that also drew Leonard’s ire.

Leonard, a two-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year who was the 2013-14 NBA Finals MVP, played just nine games with the Spurs last season after acrimony with the franchise about the condition of his lingering quadriceps injury.

The Spurs’ front office and Leonard’s representatives had been in communication since the season ended, and the two-time All-Star has been in contact with coach Gregg Popovich, league sources said.

Leonard spent most of the second half of the season rehabbing his injury in New York, where his medical team was based and where he trained with Spurs staffers. He has returned close to full health from the injury.

Leonard attended the private memorial service for Popovich’s late wife, Erin, in San Antonio after the season ended, and he interacted with team officials.

Leonard, 26, is under contract for two more seasons and owed $41.4 million, but has a player option for 2019-20.

He was drafted 15th overall in 2011 and when healthy is regarded as the league’s best two-way player.

Leonard had his finest season in 2016-17, when he averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shot 38 percent from 3-point range.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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