Spurs players dispute report of ‘tense’ meeting with Kawhi Leonard
Danny Green and Brandon Paul took to Twitter on Thursday to dispute reports the San Antonio Spurs held a players-only meeting over the weekend during which Kawhi Leonard was “implored” to return.
The report of the meeting was relayed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by The San Antonio Express-News’ Jabari Young. Woj reported that sources said the “conversation was described as tense and emotional at times.” It appears that component of the report is what irked Green and Paul.
Couldn’t be anymore incorrect lol https://t.co/xo4yVyOvn2
— Danny Green (@DGreen_14) March 22, 2018
Player: I can't wait to get home & rest it's been a long week!
Media: Player hints he's had enough & growing tensions begin to divide locker room also 100% for sure player has asked a for more meaningful role in selection of post game meals! Read more he….
— Brandon Paul (@BP3) March 22, 2018
As noted, Young also reported a meeting was held. However, Young took to Twitter to criticize the ESPN report over the mood of said conversation.
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 notion that Spurs players are frustrated over Leonard’s delayed return would be hardly surprising. Caustic comments from Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili on the issue Wednesday made that abundantly clear and it would appear in hindsight that he was perhaps speaking on behalf of the entire team.
That said, if Spurs players were simply getting a status check from Leonard — as Green and Paul argue — it would be a far cry from the confrontational tone suggested by Woj’s reporting.
Leonard, a two-time first-team All-NBA player (2016, 2017) and NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016), has been limited to only nine games this season due to a nagging quadriceps tendinopathy condition. Numerous reports indicating Leonard was about to rejoin the Spurs were thwarted, either by the team or because the superstar reportedly still needed clearance from his own doctors and medical advisers.
All that aside, with 10 games left in the regular season, the Spurs (42-30) are winners of five straight and occupy the sixth seed in the ultra-competitive and incredibly tight Western Conference standings. Popovich earlier this week reflected upon the “frustrating season” the Spurs have had to navigate, mostly due to Leonard’s prolonged absence.
The Spurs are in prime position to qualify for the postseason for a staggering 21st consecutive year. And with each passing day, Leonard’s unavailability — regardless of how his teammates feel about it — makes it all the more likely he will not contribute to the push.