Pop Regrets Comments About Kawhi’s Leadership – Kawhi’s Message To Spurs Fans

Photo Credit: Russ Isabella/USA TODAY Sports

Pop Regrets Comments About Kawhi’s Leadership – Kawhi’s Message To Spurs Fans


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.

While Kawhi was the best player on the Spurs’ roster (and his talents are definitely missed), their break-up didn’t come without some parting shots. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Kawhi 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.”


Today though, Popovich regrets his comments, according to ESPN:


“Popovich has regretted both his comments and the way they were perceived, sources said, but it was yet another moment that exemplified how raw the emotions became on both sides. The protracted disagreement about how to proceed with Leonard became the dominant storyline surrounding the Spurs last season.”


Prior to tonight’s game, Leonard was asked if he had a message for Spurs fans and had the most Kahwi-like response:


“Thanks for supporting me, Kawhi Leonard, the basketball player. That’s it, really. Just thanks for the support.”


We’ll see if Spurs fans cheer for him or boo him (knowing them, I think they’ll cheer for him), and if Pop and Kawhi will talk things over.

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