Every game the Spurs lose in these playoffs — especially the ones that they know they’d have a chance to win with Kawhi Leonard’s All-Star services — become a sharp pain in the playoff hearts of San Antonio fans, executives, his teammates and coaches and continues to be one of the most intriguing NBA mysteries of all-time.
The Spurs are admirably battling the Golden State Warriors in these playoffs but still find themselves down 2-0. Two-time MVP Steph Curry’s absence hasn’t helped San Antonio a bit as the shooting magnificence of Klay Thompson has compensated for the loss.
Bleacher Report on Twitter
Klay’s on fire. He’s got 16 in the 4th https://t.co/CRcMfMmSA7
But nobody on San Antonio — not even LaMarcus Aldridge who did his best scoring 34 points and grabbing 12 rebounds — could replace Leonard who was once a shining prince and the future of the San Antonio Spurs basketball dynasty, but now hides away from the team under a shadow of gossip and heightened tensions, reportedly healthy enough to play, but refusing to ball with his brothers.
Spurs owner Gregg Popovich has had Leonards back from the beginning, but its apparent that the situation is wearing thin on Pop who obviously felt his superstar would be back by now. Pops post game statements after Monday night’s loss suggests that hes fed with Leonard at this point, as he praised Aldridge for playing through adversity.
NBA Insider on Twitter
Gregg Popovich Postgame Press Conference – Spurs vs Warriors Game 2 | April 16, 2018 #NBA #GoSpursGo https://t.co/1AOF88H0Fw
If anyone knows how to manipulate the language to get a point across it’s Pop, who is as outspoken as they come on issues pertaining to basketball and the world at large.
When asked when Kawhi will return, Pops response is ask his group that question, which exemplifies the widening gap in communication between Leonard and the Spurs organization.
Rich Eisen Show on Twitter
Is the #Spurs behind-the-scenes drama an anomaly or a troubling trend? @MichelleDBeadle weighs in on what appears to be a brewing discontent between Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich, and what it means for San Antonio’s future. https://t.co/alUp24FRzR
Where do these passive-aggressive barbs between the Spurs and Kawhi’s Team ultimately end up? Its going to be hard for Leonard to just come back into the fold next season after so much inner-turmoil following his injury. He has obviously lost faith in the franchise and the franchise refuses to be held captive by him. The only solution would be to start entertaining trades for their two-way star at the draft.
I never wanted to live in a world where Kawhi Leonard wasnt a member of the Spurs, said ESPN basketball analyst Jalen Rose….anything Pop said about LaMarcus Aldridge he really could have said about Kawhi Leonard… So if (Kawhis) not with the basketball team and it’s a playoff game it lets me know that though he is in New York city rehabbing that he probably has played his last game with that team.”
Being down 2-0 is the least of San Antonio’s concerns right now. Everything went downhill so quickly with Leonard and hell probably be playing for another team before we ever find out why the relationship between San Antonio and their prized player rapidly deteriorated.