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Kawhi Leonard updates injury status and more, 'I talk to Pop every day'

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Kawhi Leonard updates injury status and more, 'I talk to Pop every day'

SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard plans on returning “soon” from a leg injury, after missing all but nine games so far this season.

Leonard held an impromptu, four-minute press conference Wednesday following Spurs practice. He won’t travel with the team on their upcoming three-game road trip to Golden State, Oklahoma City and Houston.

But the 26-year-old Leonard says his return is imminent.

“Soon. I don’t have a set date right now,” he said. “But I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing. The progress that I’m making has been great.”

He’s been riding a stationary bike and participating in three-on-three drills to simulate the physical contact of games, but has done so with staff members and “not my players.”

The Spurs have struggled without their star forward. Other teammates with various injuries have included Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Danny Green and Kyle Anderson. San Antonio has lost seven of its last 10 games, falling from third to fifth in the Western Conference.

Leonard watched as the Spurs blew a 15-point lead to New Orleans on Feb. 28 and a 17-point lead to the Los Angeles Lakers on March 3. San Antonio never trailed until the final two minutes of each home game.

“It’s been tough (not playing), but these guys have been doing it all season,” Leonard said. “They’ve been playing great. I’m thankful for the teammates that I do have. They understand the situation that I’m in. They’re playing well. I’ve just got to get better, I can’t come back unhealthy.”

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year played in nine games after missing the season’s first 27 games, but returned to the sideline after playing against Denver on Jan. 13.

“It’s hard to explain, but obviously I’m a competitor,” Leonard said. “If I could play, I’m going to go out and play like I did in the nine games, just to test it out. It just wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”

Team officials said Leonard was suffering pain and discomfort in the right quadriceps the morning after playing the Nuggets, leading them to sideline him indefinitely.

“(The discomfort is) diminishing,” Leonard said. “It’s hard to explain, but I am definitely better. Feel better and am feeling more comfortable.”

Leonard denied an ESPN report that he was unhappy with the Spurs’ handling of his injury and was possibly seeking to leave the team once his contract ends next season. When asked if he wanted to remain with the Spurs for his entire career, Leonard said, “Yea, for sure.”

“Everything was done as a group,” Leonard said. “I don’t feel like nothing was friction. I talk to Pop every day. He knows what the progressions were, he knew what I was doing the whole entire time as well as the front office.

“We made a group decision, so it wasn’t me just going out and saying ‘I’m going to go do this.’”

Kevin Durant makes it 100 percent clear he is returning to the Warriors

Kevin Durant makes it 100 percent clear he is returning to the Warriors

After Kevin Durant shocked the basketball world on that now famous Fourth of July, he eventually signed a two-year deal with the Warriors worth just over $51 million. But, there's a catch. 

Durant's deal has an opt-out after this season and he will hit the open market as a free agent once again. The suspense will be nothing like last time. 

When asked if he is coming back to the Warriors, Durant first rolled his eyes and tried to move on to the next subject. Then, he made it clear. 

"Yeah, yeah," Durant told Anthony Slater of The Athletic when asked to make it 100 percent that he will be on the Warriors next season. 

The Warriors don't yet have Durant's full Bird Rights so he can't sign the full five-year max deal this summer. Golden State does have his early Bird Rights, however, making him eligible for a four-year max deal. 

"I'm sure here soon I'll want to sign a long-term deal just to feel stable. But I'm enjoying every moment of it, so I'm not trying to look too far down the line," Durant said. 

“The money is not important to me. I've made so much over my career. But I do know that I want to be here, I love playing here.”

Over his first two seasons with the Warriors, Durant is averaging 25.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. He won first championship and was named NBA Final MVP in Year 1 and was named to his ninth straight NBA All-Star Game in Year 2. 

Report: Warriors interested in former Defensive Player of the Year

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Report: Warriors interested in former Defensive Player of the Year

Joakim Noah has only played seven games this season, but the Warriors are reportedly interested in adding the veteran big man to their bench. 

Noah, who turns 33 in two days, has not suited up in a game since Jan. 23. That game was a Knicks loss... to the Warriors. He played 4 minutes and 31 seconds, scored two points and grabbed one rebound. 

The veteran may never play again for the Knicks and could be a buyout option. If that does happen, the Warriors, Thunder and T'Wolves are all interested in Noah, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. 

In the seven games that he has played, Noah is averaging 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in New York. Back in 2012-13 and 2013-14, Noah was an All-Star with the Bulls and was named the 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. 

Noah has been out of the rotation and off the court ever since an altercation with head coach Jeff Hornacek one month ago in Denver. The issue reportedly first came to fruition the night before in Oakland after the team's loss to the Warriors.