Kawhi Leonard, Gregg Popovich’s conversation will be focused on repairing many things
The much-awaited conversation between San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and his star forward Kawhi Leonard will take place in the near future, but it won’t be as straightforward as some expect.
The longest-tenured coach is expected to be ultimately thorough with perhaps more than just one conversation with the 26-year-old star.
“Sooner than later, there will be a meeting set with Gregg Popovich and Leonard. It’s still in the planning stages. They have been in contact, but there will be a conversation — or, perhaps, a series of them — about whether a lasting trust and partnership can be rebuilt,” wrote ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “They’ll have to talk about medical care and treatment. They’ll have to talk about Leonard’s relationship with the coaching staff and his teammates, which is strained. They’ll have to talk about the franchise’s willingness to deliver the five-year, $219 million contract extension Leonard is eligible to receive, because the Spurs will need to be convinced that a historic contract is met with historic commitment.”
And while Leonard is in line for this mega-deal, the Spurs would have to be ultimately convinced that he is all in and not just trying to let the ink dry to secure his future, but have intentions of propelling the team to another championship.
“If Leonard wants the Spurs to make that super-maximum contract offer — and indications are indeed, yes, Leonard and his group want that offer — the history of how Popovich and Spurs president RC Buford do business suggests the offer won’t come without significant repairing of the relationship,” added Wojnarowski.
Leonard played only nine games last season after suffering from what was diagnosed as quad tendinopathy, returning in the early swing of the season, only to hit the shelf once again with a setback, later ruled out for the remainder of the Spurs’ campaign.