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Rival executive thinks Kawhi Leonard wants Gregg Popovich to ‘lighten up a little’

The San Antonio Spurs face a myriad of questions with the ominous absence of Kawhi Leonard throughout most of the regular season, and now including their short postseason stint.

Recently requesting a meeting with him to resolve their communication issues, the franchise could be divided in whether to sign him to a supermax extension or trade him, which would be vital on the team’s resolve to add or rebuild with a different player as the centerpiece.

“Don’t you have to sign him?” asked a rival executive, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. “From what I understand, he wants (Gregg) Popovich to lighten up a little with practice and tweak some things. The Spurs may not want to change their ways, but this is Kawhi Leonard we’re talking about.”

Popovich has been running this team for more than two decades and habits are hard to break, but if this is all that it takes to come to an understanding, there’s nothing keeping that from happening.

The 69-year-old coach managed to resolve a now-known displeasure with LaMarcus Aldridge, who wanted a trade after two seasons of being featured as a mere spot shooter. Things worked out between the two (mostly due to Leonard’s absence), seeing his all-around scoring numbers skyrocket to 23.1 points per game, the third-best of his NBA career.

If the strain between Popovich and Leonard is more than just those differences, it could very well turn out to be an irreconcilable difference — but given the organization’s history of steadiness throughout the years, it’s tough to fathom an explosive divide between coach and player with a splendid surrounding cast serving as mediators for this meeting.