Getting to the bottom of the Kawhi drama
SAN ANTONIO - Did you hear Coach Pop praise LaMarcus Aldridge last night?
More than a few in the national media, and I'll admit, myself included, may have heard a thinly veiled message about Kawhi Leonard. And if you think I'm crazy for that conclusion, it's not the first time.
That was Pop on March 29 when Aldridge toughed it out with soreness in his knee. Am I reading too much into it? Maybe, but I don't think when you consider his other quotes. Look there are two questions with Kawhi here. The first, do the spurs have a problem with his absence? And two, will he ever play here again?
As for #1 heck yes, they have a problem and they've said as much...
Pop: "You have to talk to his group."
Manu: "You have to make an effort."
Tony: "My injury was 100 percent worse."
The Spurs were irritated months ago. Not with the injury, but the fact that he wasn't around the team. It's been evident in their comments, but they are now past it. Not over it. But past it.
The team moved on when the players confronted Kawhi on March 17. In or out? He said out, and they moved on. So both will say he's in New York rehabbing to keep it from being awkward for both sides. But the truth is, he doesn't want to be around the team. If he did, he'd be here. And at this point the team is fine with that.
As for question number two; will he ever play here gain? Who knows. The money tells you it's in his interest to re-sign here, but name me an employee anywhere who, when up for a $215 million contract, blatantly goes outside, above and around the very people who decide if they are going to offer you that money or not. You don't unless you just don't care.
That's why Kawhi rejoining the team this year is 100 percent not going to happen, and its about 50-50 if he ever plays here again. If he stays, it's because Pop works another miracle this summer like he did with LaMarcus last summer. If he goes, it's because he simply doesn't want to be here. Why, you ask, would he want to play somewhere else possibly for less money? I'll have to quote Pop here... "You'll have to ask Kawhi and his group."