Gregg Popovich Says Kawhi Leonard Wasn’t A Leader

Photo Credit: Russ Isabella/USA TODAY Sports

Gregg Popovich Says Kawhi Leonard Wasn’t A Leader


When the Toronto Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Pöltl and a 2019 first round pick to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green this past NBA summer, it finally marked the end of the Kawhi Leonard and San Antonio Spurs saga, which definitely was one of the weirdest NBA stories in recent history.

That is why there has been a lot of buzz around Kawhi this past season, for a lot of reasons. His stellar play, we’ve gotten used to, wasn’t part of it though.

Even though he was medically cleared, Leonard still chose to be out and went weeks without communicating with the team. In the playoffs, while other injured stars were attending their team’s games, supporting them from the sidelines, Leonard was nowhere to be seen. Then, after the season, Kawhi asked for a trade.

The situation was irreversible and the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs irreparable.

But, Kawhi was the best player on the Spurs’ roster and his talents are definitely missed. But while the Spurs miss his talents, they don’t miss his leadership. According to head coach Gregg Popovich, the former Finals MVP wasn’t exactly what you would call a leader for the team.


“Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader. Manu and Patty were the leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but leadership wasn’t his deal at the time. That may come as he progresses. Patty and Manu filled that role for us last year. LaMarcus came a long way as a leader also.”

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