ESPN reports rift between Kawhi Leonard and Spurs front office.
San Antonio Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard has reportedly become "distant" and "disconnected" from the organization, as a result of disagreements centering on how to deal with his right quadriceps injury.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright, Leonard's increasing frustration with the team is due to how they've handle his injury, which has caused him to miss 39 games this season.
Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season and has only appeared in nine games thus far. The Spurs sent him back to San Antonio to continue his rehabilitation process last week, and the team has announced he'll be out indefinitely. All of this has “had a chilling impact” on his relationship with the Spurs, according to ESPN.
Of course, the Spurs are downplaying any issues between the front office and their franchise superstar.
“There is no issue between the Spurs organization and Kawhi,” [Spurs general manager R.C.] Buford told ESPN. “From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury.”
“This has been difficult for everyone,” Buford told ESPN. “It’s been difficult for Kawhi. He’s an elite level player. It’s been difficult for the team, because they want to play with a great teammate. And it’s been difficult for our staff. Historically we’ve been able to successfully manage injuries. This rehab hasn’t been simple and it hasn’t gone in a linear fashion.”
Even without Leonard for much of the season, the Spurs have still managed a 30-18 record which puts them in fourth place in the Western Conference.