Last week, reports emerged stating that Kawhi Leonard wanted out of the San Antonio Spurs with him demanding to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, putting the team in a bit of a tough situation.
Kawhi's relationship with the Spurs over the past year has reportedly been bumpy, to say the least, and at times, communication between the forward and his team, especially during his time on the sidelines with his injury, has been nonexistent.
Spurs fans that have hope that the team will still be able to keep hold of Leonard this summer despite the reports will be glad to hear that head coach Gregg Popovich has done something to try and make this a reality.
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, Popovich met with Leonard in San Diego last night, the first direct communication between the two since Leonard’s trade demand last Friday.
What took place during this meeting is unknown but one would speculate that Popovich asked for clarification on the reports from last week where he demanded a trade to the Lakers.
The Spurs are in a tough spot at the moment when it comes to Kawhi this summer, as he's up for a $219 million super-max extension this summer whether he goes since he has the chance to opt out of his current contract next year.
The Spurs star was plagued with injury for most of last season. He missed the first 27 games of the season with a right quadriceps injury, only making his season debut in December. He then suffered a partial tear in his left shoulder in January, which caused him to miss three games.
Leonard was then ruled out for an indefinite period of time in order to continue his rehabilitation process from right quadriceps tendinopathy, even though he was subsequently cleared to play by the Spurs medical staff.
This breakdown in relationship with the Spurs staff is bound to affect his trade value, but in Leonard's mind, it's Lakers or nothing.
The fact that he's reportedly demanded to be traded to Los Angeles and this basically reduces the amount which any other team can trade for the forward since teams like the Boston Celtics will not want to trade a lot of assets for Kawhi if he is just going to leave next summer.
As well as this, further reports have stated that no matter which team he is traded to this summer, Kawhi has said that he wants to sign for the Lakers in 2019, meaning he'll just be with his new team for a year if he's not in Los Angeles.
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