The status of Kawhi Leonard has been a bit of a mystery to those outside of the San Antonio Spurs organization. It was apparently a mystery to his Spurs teammates as well because they had to have a players-only meeting with Leonard to figure out what’s going on.
First reported by the San Antonio Express-News, Tony Parker and a host of other players had a meeting with Leonard to get some clarity on whether or not he intends to play this season. Leonard has been rehabbing an injured quad since January and had been training for a month.
The five to ten minute meeting didn’t really yield many answers in terms of Leonard’s return but it did clear the air over some confusion by media reports saying he would come back.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that his sources described the meeting as “tense and emotional at times” but Jabari Young, the writer of the Express-News piece, took issue to ESPN’s report.
1st off.. ESPN has it wrong. The meeting wasn’t tense. It caught Kawhi off guard, and teammates just wanted to check on his status so they wouldn’t want to hear it from media. He had support from teammates #Spurs https://t.co/xcjKq9vcck
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 22, 2018
The Express-News piece did have that despite Leonard being caught “off-guard,” he had the support of his teammates, who told him “not to return until he feels healthy enough.” ESPN’s report said that “several teammates spoke up, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing divide with Leonard.”
If I’m Kawhi Leonard, and I had my teammates come to me asking about my health and questioning when I was coming back, I would be caught off-guard by that. And if I was a Spurs player who thought Leonard seemed ready to play but wasn’t for some reason, especially in the midst of a playoff run, I might be a bit confrontational at first and would want to know what the deal was. If they didn’t react like that, there wouldn’t have been a reason to have this meeting.
But it’s apparent that however this meeting started, it ended with both sides on the same page. Whether or not, Kawhi Leonard is going to be ready for the playoffs is yet to be determined. But at least both sides are more aware of each other and can go on no matter what happens.