Gregg Popovich is the architect of the Spurs. He's overseen their rise as the NBA's most consistent team for the past two decades. He's also coached stars like David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. As of late, Kawhi Leonard has emerged as the next great Spurs superstar and the new face of the franchise.
However, there's been drama surrounding Leonard's nagging quad injury, which has kept him out for all but nine games this season. There has reportedly been growing tension between Leonard and the Spurs, and it all came to a head when the Spurs held arecently to apparently talk to Leonard about his injury.
Multiple Spurs players have come out and disputed the details of the report. Danny Green said the meeting was about more than Leonard. Popovich was asked the reported tensions and he said that there is frustration, but nobody is throwing blame around. via ESPN
"I only talk about the things that I know, and I know he's worked hard to get back. It's been frustrating. You don't think he wants to come back? You don't think we want him back? But the fact that he's not back, it frustrates everybody for all the obvious reasons. But there's no blame to be placed, on him or anybody else. It's just an unfortunate situation. So what we do, what we think about, we're going to do what we've been doing. The guys that are playing, that's who the team is. And if he got added to the team, well that's great. But you have to act like it's not going to happen because you have to be who you are. And he's not with us right now. So this team has to have its own identity. That seems pretty logical. That's the only way to look at this."
Tension is one way to describe this. Bizarre is another. The events unfolding in San Antonio is rare to see from the Spurs. They've been the model organization for years. Players-only meetings and tensions with a superstar just don't happen with their organization. Tony Parker is out here This isn't supposed to happen to the Spurs.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. If Leonard is able to return for the playoffs, then that could be the end of it. At least temporarily. It's hard to believe these feelings aren't going to carry into the offseason.