Spurs GM on Kawhi: 'Our goal is to keep him'
NBA.com Global on Jun 22, 2018 01:28 PM
FILE - OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 25: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against the Golden State Warriors during a game on October 25, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
Thursday (Friday, PHL time) marked another NBA Draft. But in San Antonio, attention remains fixed squarely on whether the Spurs can repair their relationship with disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard.
General manager R.C. Buford expressed his hope that the Spurs will be able to do just that, telling reporters their goal is to keep the two-time All-Star in San Antonio "for a long time" despite his reported desire to play elsewhere.
"Kawhi and his family mean a lot to our organization and to our community," said Buford, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News. "While none of us would wish we are where we are, we are going to do what we can to build the best relationship we can with him. We will explore all of our options, but the first one would be to keep Kawhi as part of our group."A bizarre season in which Leonard played just nine games despite being cleared by the Spurs to return from a persistent quad injury came to a head last week when reports surfaced that he no longer wants to play for the team that traded for him on Draft night in 2011.
Leonard is reportedly upset with how the Spurs handled his injury, and public comments by teammate Tony Parker and coach Gregg Popovich that he deemed to be not sufficiently supportive.
Popovich reportedly met with Leonard in California earlier this week in the hopes of clearing the air. And despite Leonard's reported desire to play in Los Angeles, preferably for the Lakers, Buford's comment indicates the Spurs aren't going to give up the player they groomed to succeed Tim Duncan so easily.