Gregg Popovich: “Alright Kawhi, it’s time to get back out there.”
Kawhi Leonard: “No thanks.”
Gregg Popovich: “What?!?!”
Kawhi Leonard: “Yeah, I don’t think I wanna play for you anymore.”
Gregg Popovich: “Was it something I said??”
Kawhi Leonard: “Yeah, that, or your general point of view toward everyone….”
(That’s probably how that conversation went).
Kawhi Leonard, one of the NBA’s best players, has been riddled with injuries all season. He’s appeared in just 9 games for the San Antonio Spurs. And as of Wednesday, a report surfaced that despite being medically cleared to play, Leonard has chosen to remain on the sidelines. If the Spurs were eliminated from playoff contention I’d almost understand, however, at 35-24 (3rd in the Western Conference), they’d have a shot in the playoffs with a healthy Leonard.
League sources stated Leonard is upset with the Spurs’ timetable for rehabilitation. This tension has led to many believing Leonard and the Spurs will part ways after next season. Leonard has a player option following the 2019 season.
If Leonard leaves, it’ll prove WINNING doesn’t cure all.
I’ve drawn many parallels between the Spurs and New England Patriots. While the NBA and NFL are completely different animals, both dynasties have many similarities. Both win at a record-setting pace. Both systematically place the betterment of the team over any individual. And both have All-Time great coaches who also happen to be emotionless jerks.
Following his playing career in New England, Wes Welker openly admitted not enjoying his time in New England. He specifically stated Bill Belichick as the reason for signing with the Denver Broncos in 2013. “It was just kind of hard to put up with him (Belichick). You had to endure him (Belichick),” Welker said.
Even the great Tom Brady’s trials and tribulations with Belichick surfaced during this past season. Seemingly the only thing holding the Patriots together is Elmer’s Glue. Or winning. Winning is definitely the thing holding them together.
So with just 23 games left to play in the NBA’s regular season, Popovich is trying to ‘save face’:
“We only have ‘X’ number of games left in the season, and he’s still not ready to go,” Popovich told reporters in San Antonio on Wednesday. “If by some chance he is, it’s gonna be pretty late into the season; and it’s going to be a pretty tough decision — how late to bring somebody back. So that’s why I’m just trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”
That may sound nice. That may be what a head coach should say when speaking about his injured superstar. But he conveniently left out the ‘Kawhi Leonard is healthy but decided not to play for you’ part.
Words are a funny thing….
Do you agree with Kawhi Leonard’s decision to sit out despite being healthy?? Tell me in the comment section below.