Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich met Tuesday, according to several reports. It’s hard to have much to go off of so soon after a meeting like this takes place, but whatever information that is made public in these instances becomes available for a reason.
Case in point, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express News reporting that the meeting between Leonard and Popovich went well.
At the time of Tuesday’s reports, not too much new information was made public, but some speculation (including that Kawhi Leonard wants to be traded to Los Angeles and prefers the Lakers) was confirmed, including where Leonard would like to play. It should come as no surprise that the Spurs, then, would consider leaking whatever they could to gain back some leverage.
It’s worth noting that I have no idea about where or from whom Young got his information. Maybe this was Leonard’s camp after feeling better having met with Pop. Maybe this was indeed the Spurs leaking anything to put them back into a more positive light (though they rarely need much help in that department from national voices).
This story is taking us to uncharted territory in several regards. Woj is missing stories. The Spurs seem completely unraveled. Kawhi Leonard, a man of maybe five total public words throughout the entirety of his career, is making demands of the aforementioned Spurs to trade him to a larger media market. The Lakers, a team coming off a 35-win season, might be the preferred destination of as many as three superstars. What is even happening?
With just a day and some change left before the NBA draft and about a week and a half left before free agency officially kicks off, get ready for more stories like this. As always, consider the source.
Case in point: According to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, the meeting didn’t go very well and Kawhi told Popovich he absolutely wants out.
“From what my sources tell me, Kawhi Leonard me with Gregg Popovich face-to-face and told him dead in the face ‘I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be in San Antonio any longer.’ And by all accounts, everywhere that I have searched, he is absolutely, positively going to become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.”
As we’ve said before, you take Stephen A. Smith reports with a grain of salt given the character he’s become over the years, but given how little anyone seems to know about this, it’s hard to ignore information coming from anyone as plugged in around the league as Smith undeniably is.
I actually got into how I handle the rumor cycle on “Locked on Lakers” a little while back. Here’s the full discussion.