LOS ANGELES—Earlier this June, Kawhi Leonard’s camp released information to Adrian Wojnarowski from ESPN that the star forward is no longer interested in playing with the San Antonio Spurs. ESPN reported that the Los Angeles Lakers are Leonard’s top choice.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Leonard’s camp stated that while he would prefer to play for the Lakers, he would not mind playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard is a native of Los Angeles.
He entered the season as an MVP candidate, but only played in 9 out of 82 games because of a persisting quad injury. Even though the Spurs cleared him to play around January, Leonard decided to remain out. As a result, friction began to build between him and the Spurs organization.
Tony Parker’s comments on the state of Leonard’s injury did not improve the status of his relationship with the organization. Parker commented on Leonard’s injury, saying that his [Parker’s] was “100 times worse.” Parker tore his left quadriceps tendon in May 2017 during the NBA playoffs and returned to the court in November 2017.
Yahoo’s Shams Charania reported that Leonard met with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in San Diego last week. According to ESPN, Leonard made it known that his desire is still to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, whether it be in 2018 or 2019.
Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year Award Winner (2015 & 2016), an NBA champion (2014), and a NBA Finals MVP (2014).
During the 2016-2017 season, he averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals. He was drafted to the NBA in 2011 with the 15th pick by the San Antonio Spurs.
All eyes will be on Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka as the league sees what moves they try to make for Leonard, if any.