SAN ANTONIO- Spurs Kawhi Leonard may be done playing for the Spurs. According to a report on www.mysanantonio.com, there is increasing speculation that Leonard will want to be traded to the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard only played nine games last season due to an injury. He averaged 16.2 points in the nine games. He averaged 25.2 points in the 2016-2017 season.
The Lakers are expected to have almost $60 million in cap space while the Clippers will have close to $37 million in cap space. Philadelphia presents the best opportunity to win immediately and will have just over $31 million in cap space. The Knicks will have just over $25 million in cap space.
Leonard was the subject of intense criticism after the blowout game one loss to the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs lost the series. Leonard was out due to the quadriceps injury still being an issue.
One reporter that lashed out at Leonard was Skip Bayless via Twitter. “Kawhi Leonard quit on the Spurs, crumbled under the pressure to live up to the MVP and the face of the franchise expectations,” said Bayless.
Bayless claimed the Spurs medical staff cleared him to play two months ago. Is this really a case of Leonard deliberately sitting because he doesn’t want to play for San Antonio anymore? This seems hard to believe that Leonard would choose to avoid playing just for the sake of forcing the Spurs hands. After all, stars don’t typically miss playoff games just to intensify trade talk. Perhaps it is merely a case of Leonard needing to trust the team doctors and play through pain if necessary. Stars are normally expected to play in playoff games unless team doctors flat-out say it can’t be done. If Leonard is truly the franchise player, the expectation is to take the risk of re-aggravating the injury for the sake of possibly dethroning the Warriors according to this logic.
Jalen Rose added some information as to why Leonard is upset. According to USA Today, he questioned the team’s ability to sign top-tier free agents as one of the reasons Leonard didn’t want to play for the Spurs.