Spurs legend Bruce Bowen publicly criticizes Kawhi Leonard

Bruce Bowen spent 13 seasons in the NBA, but was most famous during his time with the San Antonio Spurs.

From 2001 through 2009 (eight seasons), Bowen was an important part of San Antonio’s success. Although he never averaged double-figures in the scoring column during any season of his career, he averaged 30-plus minutes in six of his eight seasons with the Spurs.

Since he spent most of that time playing alongside Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, Bowen’s dominant defensive skills made him one of Gregg Popovich’s favorite players.

He was a part of three championship teams in San Antonio as a result.

While past and present Spurs players have remained somewhat quiet about the Kawhi Leonard situation, Bowen publicly unleashed criticism on the superstar forward during an interview on Sirius XM NBA Radio Thursday night.

“First, it was, ‘Well I was misdiagnosed.’ Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they’re trying to rush you? You didn’t play for the most part a full season this year,” Bowen pointed out about Leonard. “And you’re the go-to guy, you’re the franchise, and you want to say that they didn’t have your best interest at heart? Are you kidding me?”

Bowen also had an issue with Leonard’s silence throughout the entire process.

A damaging silence

“Not one time has Kawhi come out and said anything to the effect of, ‘You know what, hey, I really enjoy being in San Antonio.’ Or, ‘I can’t stand what’s going on here in San Antonio,’ ” Bowen said. “Not one time has he said anything.”

Towards the end of the regular season, Leonard left the team to work out and rehab with his own group in New York City. He was not seen on the bench on the road during his team’s brief postseason run.

“As a player, if I’m a leader of a team, my team goes on the road in the playoffs, I’m with my guys,” he said. “Because that’s what it’s all about. It’s about camaraderie. It’s about fellowship. It’s a brotherhood. When that didn’t happen, it’s all kinds of sirens and alarm signals that says to me, ‘Is this person fully vested?’ … I don’t want to take on a player who’s not willing to support his guys during the course of their time needing him.”

Since Leonard was not traded before the draft, there’s no guarantee that he will be. After all, there’s still one year left on his current contract. However, as Bowen proved on Thursday, Leonard’s not immune from criticism.

It will be interesting to see if any other current or former Spurs players speak out against Leonard’s role in the current situation.

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