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Report: Spurs worried Kawhi Leonard’s group trying to get him to Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, 76ers

Kawhi Leonard

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates sinking a basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks onTuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Those rumors of mutual interest between the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard? Maybe it’s time to take them seriously.

The Spurs apparently are.

Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

Multiple league sources also told ESPN that the Spurs have grown worried that Leonard’s group has an ulterior motive to fray the relationship and get Leonard traded to a larger market like Los Angeles (Leonard’s hometown) or New York or Philadelphia (Robertson lives in New Jersey).

One source close to general manager R.C. Buford said the longtime executive admitted to him that he’s constantly losing sleep over how and why the relationship with Leonard has disintegrated.

I suggest reading Shelburne’s and Wight’s article in full. It’s the deepest dive yet into the disconnect between Leonard and the Spurs.

A big issue is clearly Leonard’s injury. San Antonio calls it quadriceps tendinopathy, but that’s not the only accepted diagnosis.

Shelburne and Wright:

Leonard’s camp believes his condition is the result of a series of contusions to the quadriceps that began with one very deep bruise in March 2016 that caused him to miss three games. Leonard was again listed with a “quad contusion” on the Feb. 6, 2017, injury report, when he was a late scratch before a game. But it wasn’t until the end of last season when the severity of the injury became apparent.

According to multiple sources, Leonard’s camp has come to believe the issue has more to do with an ossification or hardening in the area where the muscle has been repeatedly bruised and then an atrophying, which in turn affected the tendons connecting the muscle to the knee.

The treatment course for each diagnosis (a muscle issue vs. a tendon issue) is different, which has become another source of tension in the relationship.

That disagreement caused Leonard’s camp – his agent, Mitch Frankel, and uncle, Dennis Robertson – to send Leonard to New York to seek an outside opinion. Dr. Jonathan Glashow has reportedly run Leonard’s rehab since. Glashow is also the 76ers’ chief medical officer – a potential bigger draw for Philadelphia than Leonard’s uncle’s proximity.

The Clippers are already lining up trade offers for Leonard (as are many teams). It was also only a matter of time before the Knicks got mentioned. The New York boogeyman always looms.

And of course, there are the Spurs, who must work out issues big and small with Leonard. But it’s certainly not a forgone conclusion Leonard will leave his current team.

None of this is clear – not Leonard’s intentions, not the financial difficulties of his agency (again read the entire article), not San Antonio’s plans. But everyone is moving toward key decisions, and as that happens, more context is coming to light.