Spurs worried there’s ‘ulterior motive’ from Kawhi Leonard’s group to fray relationship
As both sides have differing opinions on his actual quad diagnosis and have opted for different treatments in hopes to get him back to full health, the relationship between both sides has been jaded, at best.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright, the relationship between player and team remain the same, but the franchise has become weary of his camp’s antics, which could potentially sever their relationship, serving as the perfect segue for the star landing in a big market.
“Multiple league sources also told ESPN that the Spurs have grown worried that Leonard’s group has an ulterior motive to fray the relationship and get Leonard traded to a larger market like Los Angeles (Leonard’s hometown) or New York or Philadelphia (Robertson lives in New Jersey).”
Brian Elfus had been a key cog of communication between the often-quiet star and the organization, once seeking a second opinion for a wrist injury for his star, informing the team and getting him healed up, with no issues moving forward.
Elfus and Leonard parted ways after 2015 and his agent Mitch Frankel and uncle Dennis Robertson took over as his representation, which has caused a clear divide.
“After Leonard and Elfus parted ways, Robertson and Frankel took over the day-to-day communications with the Spurs and the relationship hasn’t been nearly as healthy, according to Spurs sources.”
Frankel and Robertson made a joint decision to take Leonard to NYC for a second-opinion, getting the issue off the hands of the Spurs, which originated the rift in the first place.
“The Spurs feel that they hire the best, that they do it better than anyone else,” said a source close to Leonard. “They deserve to have that reputation and that kind of ego. But they’re just not very open-minded. They don’t like others messing with their players.”
Leonard is no longer just one of their players, but a $90 million investment the franchise made, the largest since Tim Duncan; actually. This disconnect has been shown in the way head coach Gregg Popovich has referred to Leonard’s representation as his “group” in several instances, noting it’s not a player-to-franchise relationship any longer.