Kawhi Leonard expressed commitment to teammates in closed-door meeting, but not to organization
The San Antonio Spurs dealt with Kawhi Leonard’s injury for the entire regular season, but it did not become a cloud of horror until the infamous players-only closed-door meeting took place near the end of their 2017-18 campaign.
ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, who covered the Spurs last season, cleaned up part of the controversy surrounding the Leonard saga, giving some insight as to what went on during the meeting and after — which might have been the match that lit a fire in Leonard’s desire to want out of San Antonio.
“Tony (Parker) quarterbacked the whole thing,” said Wright of the infamous meeting during a recent appearance on The Lowe Post podcast. “It was just more them trying to get a feel for when Kawhi might get back. ‘Hey, we’re about to make a playoff run. Do you have any idea of when you’re going to be back?’
“Put yourself in Kawhi’s shoes and you have your team coming at you like that, you’re going to be a little taken aback by that, I believe. And in that meeting, Kawhi basically stood his ground.
“He was like, ‘I’ll be back when I’m ready to come back.’
“I had heard, for the aggregators who get ahold of this, I heard that Kawhi had said something about like ‘I’ll do anything for all you guys in this room, but not this organization.’ That what I heard he had said. But he stood his ground.
“I also heard that during the meeting a lot of those guys were supportive.”
This indicates that by that point, Leonard was already upset with the organization after their reported refusal to allow him to seek a second opinion on his injured quad.
Longtime Spurs veterans like Parker and Manu Ginobili weren’t fond of Leonard’s reaction during the meeting and had some pointed comments the next day — something that doused the entire room with verbal kerosene and consequently lit Leonard’s saga ablaze.